Logan Sussner had a big night inside.

Step 1 of big week: Vikings beat Ortonville

This is test week. 

For 15 games the Minneota Vikings have prepared for the ultimate in competition, a sort of, “Time that tests mens souls,” so to speak.

Thursday’s “headliner” against the undefeated Camden Conference strongman, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (16-0) loomed in the distance.

But first, there was Ortonville. A team at 14-2 on its home floor on a Monday night can be dangerous — and the Trojans were all of that, forging a 10-point lead behind nine, three-pointers that fell in the basket like raindrops from heaven. 

Only a stubborn rally led by Nolan Boerboom’s three-point shooting and rugged “under the basket” play by Logan Sussner brought Minneota within four at the half.

One second half comeback later, the Vikings had built a six-point lead with 2:18 to go, then held onto their hats as the smallest Trojan, junior guard Tyson Powell turned “whirlying burnish” and nearly brought his team back.

But the defensive wall the Vikings built held — and they pulled off a spectacular, 70-68 victory.

“It’s nice to start the week out like that,” said Viking Coach Dave Busselman.

“This was Step One of the week. This was a big win for us,” added the coach.

What the coach called, “A nice flurry” of six straight points early in the second half got them back in the game, but Isaac Hennen didn’t have a single bucket. Then, with 4:20 to go, he knifed through the defense and scored for a 60-59 lead that got as wide as 68-62 on two Sussner free throws.

But six-point leads have a way of disappearing as quickly as the morning light destroys night.

And when Powell’s three-pointer ripped the cords with 27 seconds to go, the Trojans were within two.

But Powell’s second long-range bomb did’t hit pay dirt, Thomas Hennen rebounded with 1.9 seconds to go. Hennen missed the free shot, but there was little Powell could do — launching a full-court short that fell way short — and Minneota had survived.

At halftime, Coach Busselman knew the game had to be changed or Powell and the long-range-shooting Trojans would continue to “light up the night.”

“We just decided to beat them up the floor.”

Ortonville was playing a nice, cozy half-court game that suited their needs.

“We did a better job of extending the floor,” said the coach. He simply “let the horses run,” and what was left in the wake was a tired bunch of Ortonville Trojans.

“Yeah, No. 13 (Powell) is a good player, but I bet he’s exhausted,” the coach smiled. “I told the guys, we may not stop him, but we can wear him out.”

The theory: “If you can’t out shoot ‘em, wear ‘em out.” It worked.

With the Trojans 6-5 center DaVonte Edwards controlling the inside game, Minneota’s high-scoring junior Thomas Hennen was kept away from the basket

Edwards was a rebounding machine with four blocks and he banked in 11 points. But the Vikings simply switched gears, using strong drives to the basket by freshman Jacob Hennen and the strongman work of Sussner underneath to undermine Edwards.

“What’s nice about this team is when one guy is not having a good game, we still win,” said Coach Busselman.

“When you let Jacob (Hennen) get enough shots early, he can change the pace of the game,” said the coach. “Jacob was our X-factor tonight,” he added.

Between Sussner and Jacob Hennen, they scored 38 points and grabbed 23 rebounds. Not a bad night for a sophomore and freshman.

Two factors turned the game in Minneota’s favor. They out-rebounded Ortonville, 31-21. “We did a nice job on the boards,” said the coach. And, they hit 11 of 16 free throws.

On the court, “Our guys were talking to each other. You’ve got to just let them play. They can play through the mistakes and they played hard,” said the coach.



•Ortonville hit 14, three-pointers, Minneota seven for a total of 21.

•While point guard Jarod Josephson scored just six points, his two, timely three-pointers made a big difference. 

•Ortonville has just one senior on their squad and he, Nathan Strong, scored just two points. So the future looks bright for the Trojans, who had four scorers in double figures.

•The Vikings had just nine fouls and gave Ortonville just eight free throws.


Minneota 70, Ortonville 68

MINNEOTA (2’s, 3’s, FT, F, TP) Jared Josephson 0 2 0-0 0 6; Thomas Hennen 5 1 0-1 3 13; Logan Sussner 8 0 5-7 2 21; Jacob Hennen 4 2 3-4 2 17; Isaac Hennen 1 0 3-4 2 5; Nolan Boerboom 1 2 0-0 0 8; Mitchelll Rost 0 0 0-0 0 0; Tristan Sorensen 0 0 0-0 0 0. Totals 19 7 11-16 9 70.

ORTONVILLE (2’s, 3’s, FT, F, TP) Tyson Powell 2 7 0-1 2 25; DaVonte Edwards 3 0 5-6 3 11; Nathan Strong 1 0 0-0 1 2; Peter Treinen 1 3 0-1 1 12; Caden Wellnitz 3 3 0-0 3 15; Zach Kuechenmeister 0 0 0-0 0 0; Leo Zepeda 0 1 0-0 2 3. Totals 10 14 6-8 12 68.

Score by Halves

Minneota  38  32  —  70

Ortonville   42  26  —  68


SHOOTING: Minneota 26 of 57 for 45 percent; Ortonville 24 of 53 for 45 percent.

FREE THROWS: Minneota 11 of 16 for 68 percent; Ortonville 6 of 8 for 76 percent.

REBOUNDS: Minneota 31 (Sussner 13, Jacob Hennen 10, Isaac Hennen, Boerboom 3 each, Sorensen, Thomas Hennen 1 each); Ortonville 21 (Edwards 9, Wellnitz 6, Treinen 6).

STEALS: Minneota 6 (I. Hennen 2, T. Hennen, Sussner, J. Hennen, Sorensen 1 each; Ortonville  2 (Powell 2).

BLOCKS: Ortonville 4 (Powell 4).

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