Throughout the year, Wahpeton’s been having one player coming up big in the scoring column while not getting enough help from the rest of the squad. That wasn’t the case in the Huskies’ most recent battle on Thursday, Jan. 9 against Fargo South as Corbin Cornelius and Tyler Tollefson each hit new career highs with 26 points apiece in a 74-59 road victory.
“If they do that every night, that would be awesome,” Wahpeton coach Jeff Ralph said with a laugh. “I don’t remember ever having two kids with 26 (in the same game). That was awesome.”
Coming into the season, Cornelius was the player everyone pegged to be the go-to scorer after a strong junior campaign. The senior struggled to start the year, but has found his stroke as of late. Cornelius drilled four 3-pointers and all eight of his free throw attempts in the dominant showing. He was also a threat when driving to the rack.
“Corbin, the last two games, has played really well. He’s been aggressive with the basketball and tonight he was making 3s and going into the lane scoring for two,” Ralph said. “We’ve got to have that. We’ve been wondering who our slasher was going to be. Tonight he was just really good with the ball in his hands. I don’t think he took one bad shot. He was aggressive and was attacking the basket. He wasn’t just jacking shots.”
Along with the massive scoring output, Cornelius also led his squad in every stat category. He flirted with a triple-double, dishing out nine assists, pulling down seven rebounds while also getting a pair of blocks and steals.
Cornelius’ partner on the perimeter, Tollefson, also showed his scoring versatility in the victory. Tollefson’s already shown he’s a sniper from deep, which continued with half a dozen trey balls, but he also got to the cup throughout the night.
“We know he can do that (shoot the 3) and we’ve seen him do that, but I think the three two-point baskets is what kind of set up the 3s for him,” Ralph said. “Now they’re thinking he’s going to drive and he had a couple breaking the press where they stopped because they thought he was going to go up and shoot and then he just blew by and got to the rim and got fouled. We’re going to need that from him, too.”
The pair of Eastern Dakota Conference opponents were knotted at 31 after the first half. South came out with a 10-0 run to start the second period, but Wahp came back with two runs of their own. The first was a 16-7 rally to cut the lead to one. The next surge, which was started by a quick seven points from Blake Matejcek, ended up being a 22-7 run to close out the game.
Taking care of the ball against the Bruins’ high-pressure defense was a massive part to closing out the game. The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Huskies.
“It’s good to see the boys bounce back. I’m just so happy for the kids to string that together and show that they can play in this league,” Ralph said. “It was fun to see the excitement after the game. It was a good win for the boys to give them some confidence moving forward.”
Next up for WHS (2-5) is a 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 bout with Fargo North.
“At home finally,” Ralph said. “We’ve been on the road for about three games in a row, so it’ll be nice to be at home.”
Wahpeton Stat Leaders
Corbin Cornelius- 26
Tyler Tollefson- 26
Blake Matejcek- 13
Dez Munezero- 4
Jared Bartels- 4
Bridger Hansen- 1
Ethan Manock- 1