Comets Overcome Cold Night To Play for State
Jake Isaac stumbled into the gym battling flu symptoms as he dressed in the locker room. Coach Gregg Preston hoped to use Jake sparingly in the first few minutes and assess his energy level at the half. After the Comets fell to an eleven point deficit Preston called a time-out to allow his team to regroup. It was clear the Comets were having an off night, and every player was needed to pull-off a win.
Senior guard Evan Malmstrom led the Comets with a resilient look on the court after the challenging start. "We came out and our offensive movement of the basketball, cuts away from the ball, and offensive agressiveness was less than sharp," recalled Preston, "Evan Malmstrom and Tommy Thompson did a great job of handling the ball, playing excellent perimeter defense and hitting some key baskets especially in the second half."
The Comets uncharacteristically struggled on the offensive end. Isaac missed routine layups and Chris Tungseth failed to knock-down his signature jump shots to start the game. The Comets shot just 31% (15/49) from the floor. Their 36% (8/22) from beyond the arc added to the frustration on the offensive end. To make up for their lack-luster offense, the Comets fortified their defense and attacked the glass. Isaac and Tungseth did their part, pulling down 8 and 11 rebounds respectively.
The second half saw a different Comet squad. Emerging from the locker room the Comets saw an 18-17 score above their heads at the Concordia College gym. Their attention shifted to overcoming the one point deficit and increase their scoring opportunities. "I knew we could get it going," voiced Senior guard Evan Malmstrom. "We tried to slow things down in the second half and work the ball inside to the post." The Comets took a smooth layup from sophomore guard Reggie Undseth to boost their lead to 21-20 with 15 minutes left. Tungseth posted-up the rest of the night, revealing a weakness in Waubun's defensive front, scoring 13 of his 16 points after intermission. Isaac heated-up from the free-throw line following Tungseth's lead, and ended the night with 20 points to his name.
Preston patted his squad on the back following a difficult night. "I'm really proud of our team for keeping their composure despite struggling offensively. They stayed at it and defended until the end." The Comets now face the South sub-Section 6A champions in Friday nights Section 6A final at 7pm at the University of Minnesota Morris for a state tournament berth.