Physicality was the name of the game in Barnesville, Minnesota, on Thursday, March 5. The Trojans disrupted the Breckenridge Cowboys on the perimeter and in the paint all night, ending the Breck’s season in the opening round with a 70-52 win.
“I say that Barnesville wins in sports because of the weight room,” Breckenridge coach Arly Ohm said. “They physically manhandled us on the glass and they got second and third shots. You can’t do that in playoff time.”
Breck’s lone lead of the game came when they went up 5-2 in the opening minutes. They trailed by nine at halftime and found themselves playing catch up all night.
“The bottom line is it’s pretty obvious our kids played hard tonight. We had some good looks that we normally make and didn’t knock them down early,” Ohm said. “I felt like there was a sense of panic, because a lot of guys have never been through this. Hopefully it’s a learning lesson for the Cowboys.”
The Trojans came out firing to start the second half, doubling their lead with a 9-0 run out of the gates. The Cowboys couldn’t get the lead back to single digits the rest of the night.
Trying to get back into the game, Breckenridge was forced to pressure Adam Tonsfeldt the length of the court. The junior guard diced up the defense, dropping dimes to open teammates while making it look easy. He was also a scoring threat, pouring in 20 points.
“When you get behind and have to pressure Tonsfeldt, that’s asking a lot,” Ohm said. “You’re playing into his strengths, but when you’re behind you have to create chaos and that’s tough to do at this level.”
Hauling in a bulk of those passes was sophomore forward Kaden Zenzen. The big man was bruising down low and at one point scored nine points in a row late in the second half, ending the night with a game-high 22 points.
“They really hurt us inside. Inside in the post and inside on the glass. It’s a lesson you’ve got to learn,” Ohm said. “Give credit to Barnesville, they deserve it. We’re just going to have to match their intensity next year and keep moving on.”
Jonah Christensen was tasked with battling inside against the tough Barnesville frontcourt. Despite fighting double and triple teams all night, the junior led the Cowboys in points (15) and rebounds (eight). Cooper Yaggie followed with 13 points while dishing out a team-high five assists and pulling down five boards.
Breck had a massive fan turnout in Barnesville with a bulk of the seating on the visitors’ side of the gym filling up a half hour before tip-off.
“How ‘bout our ‘Cowboy crazies.’ That was pretty awesome,” Ohm said. “I know our guys made the comment about what a great crowd we have and we wanted to get it done for them. We just didn’t get it done. Thank you everybody for their support.”
Tyson Piechowski played his final basketball game as a Cowboy in the loss. He’s the lone senior on the roster and was tasked with a large leadership role this year.
“Great kid. We had a lot to say with Ty, because he’s had a great senior year in all of his sports,” Ohm said. “It says a lot about a kid who’s battled through some adversity and has just kept grinding and hanging in there. Ty’s been an example of what Cowboy basketball should be about.”
Breckenridge ends their season with a record of 14-14. With the exception of their senior leader, the entire squad will be back to compete next season.
“We have kids that I know will put the time in. Some teams have a lot of guys back, but we have a lot of guys back that are willing to work,” Ohm said. “I think they got a taste of what varsity is about and it’s a big jump. If we can take this lesson and move forward from it, we’re going to be just fine.”