By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — Austin Majeskie had to be feeling good after his putback with a little more than 11 minutes remaining in the first half on Tuesday.
The basket put Mankato West up by seven points on Big Nine Conference foe Rochester John Marshall, and the Scarlets appeared to be controlling the pace against the bigger and quicker team.
But the Rockets suddenly seemed to realize their advantages, and they seized control of the boys basketball game. They went on to hand West its first loss, 85-70, at the West court.
“We started playing their game,” said Majeskie, who had 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals. “When we were up, we were playing our game.
“We slowed them down. But they know how to push it and get up the court when they get turnovers.”
Majeskie gave West a 15-8 lead, capping a 12-2 run by the home team. But the Scarlets started to go cold, missing easy baskets inside and watching the Rockets run away with the rebounds.
“They sped us up to the point where guys felt like they needed to do things a little faster,” West coach Tom Boone said.
A 15-0 JM run turned into a 23-2 run and a 39-22 John Marshall lead with 2:04 left in the first half. During that stretch, West had one field goal — a layup by Majeskie — over a span of 6 1/2 minutes.
“They didn’t miss much,” Majeskie said. They’re a good team.”
The Rockets led 45-28 at halftime.
“One thing they do extremely well is get out in transition with numbers,” Boone said.
Deonte Moore led the way for JM with 26 points. John Mattison scored 24, and Kyle Dahlstrom had 17.
The Scarlets were led by freshman Jake Dale, who scored 23 points on 10 of 18 shooting. He also had eight rebounds and three assists. Ryan Schlichte scored 14 points.
The second half was more even, with West outscoring the Rockets 42-40. But the 17-point deficit was too much to overcome.
A 3-pointer by Majeskie cut the lead to 11 late in the game.
“I thought we responded in the second half, starting out,” Boone said. “JM shot the ball very well and attacked the rim very well. But our kids battled.”
West (4-1, 2-1 in Big Nine) will play at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Marshall.