The Sleepy Eye Indians boys basketball team began playoff action taking to the court as the 11th seeded underdogs twice in the past week winning one and dropping the second bringing their season to a close.
The Indians upset the 6th seeded Chargers of Minnesota Valley Lutheran, 70-60, on Thursday night however they had their season come to a close on Tuesday night on the road against the 3rd seeded Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity.
“Coming in [to the MVL game]we were the underdog. But we are a great team, we’ve had our ups and downs, but when we come together and all play well, we are a really tough team to beat and that’s what we did tonight,” junior Brandon Polesky commented.
“We came in confident because we played them [MVL] very competitively both times we played them during the regular season, so they put it all together tonight and played a great game,” Head coach Brian Polesky said.
Sleepy Eye definitely came together and played confidently as a team which allowed them to take the early lead and they never looked back.
Early on in the first half of play, the Indians went on a 15-0 run on the Chargers heavily led by multiple three-pointers by Senior Tyler Hadley and the great shot of Brandon Polesky.
Polesky’s 13 first half points and Hadley’s 10, helped Sleepy Eye take an 11 point, 32-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half was more Sleepy Eye. Hadley continued to put up numbers adding 15 additional points. The score was boosted by Tyler Netzke’s six points, Mickey Medrano’s eight and Polesky’s seven.
The closest MVL?was able to inch towards the lead came near the end of the second half with just under three minutes to play. The Chargers managed to pull within three, putting the score 60-57, yet were unable to move past the Indians.
From this point the Chargers were forced to foul which allowed Sleepy Eye to pull away even further, compliments of the foul line.
At the end of the night, the scoreboard read 70-60 in favor of Sleepy Eye.
“Rebounding and free throws down the stretch is what we needed to do. Everybody played their role today and we did a nice job defensively. We worked a lot on our man to man defense in practice but haven’t used it a whole lot, kind of picking and choosing our spots, but tonight man to man defense was key,” Polesky said after the game.
“These guys have worked hard. They’ve fought through some adversity. all year long I told them keep working hard, keep progressing, stay positive and good things will happen. And tonight they kind of came together. I’m so happy for the guys to get a win like this after all the hard work,” He concluded about the MVL effort.
The team then headed to Lester Prairie Tuesday evening to take on the Bulldogs in what turned out to be the final game of the Indian’s season, as they lost the tightly contested battle 71-62.
Sleepy Eye came out very strong taking the lead and holding on to it for much of the first half of play.
The tables didn’t turn to the Bulldog’s side until the final four minutes of the half.
The Bulldogs slowly whittled away at the small lead held by the Indians and finally took the lead for the first time in the game with just two minutes to play in the first half going up 24-23.
As the final two minutes ticked away the lead changed sides five times, with LP/HT ultimately taking a two point, 29-27 lead as the first half came to a close.
The second half was well played on both sides of the court, yet the Bulldogs took advantage of a few mistakes made by the Indians and capitalized on them which boosted their lead.
That lead however never got out of grasp for the Indians. The largest lead the Bulldogs saw, with the exception being the final score, was just seven.
Sleepy Eye battled hard and got within two points (45-47) with 11 minutes to play, and within one point (50-51) with seven minutes to play but just couldn’t get on top.
That is until Jake Trebesch hit a couple shots from the charity line and knotted things up at 61 each with 1:45 to play. Unfortunately the Indians would only add one more point to their total, while the Bulldogs added another 10 to put them on the winning side of the 71-62 final score, and earning them a spot in the next round of the playoffs.
“They battled. The guys played their hearts out. Lester Prairie is a tough team. We gave it everything we had. We played both ends of the floor all night long, and made some good plays, they just made a few more down the stretch, and we got into a foul situation,” coach Polesky commented.
“The guys played hard all year long and have been a great bunch to coach. They’ve improved day by day, week by week and put themselves in a position to really play with anybody in the section, at this point of the year that’s what you want. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys. It’s been a fun season,” Polesky concluded.
Sleepy Eye had three players enter double figures in scoring. Leading the way was Brandon Polesky with 21. Tyler Netzke added 15. Tyler Hadley contributed 12. Rounding out the scoring was Mickey Medrano with eight and Jake Trebesch with six.