Breckenridge entered their home opener against Fergus Falls, Minnesota, as heavy underdogs. Fans in the gym wouldn’t have known by the opening minutes when the Cowboys punched the Otters in the mouth with an 8-2 run.
The pair of teams were tight for most of the battle as Breck trailed by six at halftime, but Fergus pulled away in the second half for a 66-51 win on Saturday, Dec. 7.
“I thought we played hard. The beginning first four minutes, especially,” Breckenridge coach Arly Ohm said. “We were aggressive defensively, as well as offensively. We got our transition game up and running.”
Anthony Conzemius rocketed a pair of full-court passes for a couple open layups in the opening run. It was likely one of the rare times this year the towering Conzemius will be matched up with a player taller than him.
“I thought Jonah (Christensen) and Anthony really competed. You’re talking 6-foot-11 and probably 245 (pounds),” Ohm said. “I thought our effort was absolutely outstanding and I’m proud of our kids. They left it on the floor.”
Christensen also wasn’t bothered by the size as he led the Cowboys with 17 points. The junior forward was a force down low with a variety of crafty moves to get his shot off. He was also the leading rebounder with all five of the Breck players on the court being undersized compared to their matchup.
“I was most pleased with how competitive we were on the glass. All five guys were crashing the glass, because we were giving up significant size,” Ohm said.
The key to their success in the opening half was to clog the paint and force Fergus to beat them from beyond the arc. It worked for the most part with only a couple of the trey balls dropping before halftime.
“I thought our team defense was better than it was a week ago and that’s what we’re trying to get. Now can we be better next week than we were last week,” Ohm said. “We’re starting to take strides and we’re playing really high-level competition. I saw some really positive aspects of the game tonight. We took steps forward, that’s for sure.”
Eventually the Otters’ long balls started to drop and the hosts didn’t have enough firepower to keep up.
“We’re really young and it’s a different experience playing varsity basketball,” Ohm said. “I think our community will appreciate this group, because they play very hard and I think we’ll represent our community the right way. We’ve got to just keep making these gains.”
The Cowboys (0-2) head to Barnesville, Minnesota, to take on the Trojans. Opening tip is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10.
“They’re 1-1 right now. They’re obviously very physical athletes. Breck at Barnesville, you know how that is,” Ohm said. “It’s going to be a war and if we give this type of effort night in and night out, we’re going to be just fine.”