Fire comeback falls short against section rival Brooklyn Center

Last Friday, boys basketball faced off against the Brooklyn Center Centaurs. Although the game was a hard fought battle, Brooklyn Center took the victory over the Fire 70-76.

In the first half, the Fire fell behind as the Centaurs capitalized on turnovers and fast break opportunities. Lincoln Cizek shared his thoughts on the first half: “We came out really slow. The nerves got to us. We had to work on brushing those feelings aside.” Brooklyn Center opened up a substantial lead heading into halftime with a 29-40 advantage.

The game was a back-and-forth battle between offenses as both teams struggled to perform defensively. Each team seemed very undisciplined which led to numerous turnovers and loose ball fouls. Coach Thuli elaborated on the team’s carelessness, “It’s kind of how they made us play – they succeeded in bringing our own abilities down. They didn’t necessarily change their play style, we just had to focus on the tasks at hand and not let it rattle us.”

The second half was characterized by forceful offensive play from both sides. Tensions boiled over when Nate Hendler received a technical foul. He described the aggressive nature of the game, “It was tough. Both teams really wanted to show that their efforts weren’t going to waste. Emotions are always going to be a part of the game, we just can’t let it get the best of us.”

In an attempt to close the lead, seniors Nate Hendler, Lincoln Cizek, and Griffin Johnson strung together and combined for a total 31 second-half points (Nate 11 of 24, Lincoln 11 of 17, Griffin 9 of 12).

Lincoln gave us his thoughts on the importance the game had for the team, “The game was big for us – we wanted to win. We came out slow but Thuli’s halftime yelling definitely pumped us up. Coming back tensions were high, the technicals were unfortunate, but all we can say was it was it was a competitive matchup.” Griffin continued by stating, “I think individually, we all need to work on our own priorities and set standards for ourselves to get better. Collectively, we need to keep working hard and the success will come.”

Thuli stated the team’s goals for upcoming games, “Our goals are just continuing to get better. It’s so early in the year where we still have time to figure out our goals and work on our plans to reach these goals. We just got to keep being consistent and playing to the best of our ability.”

In addition to Friday’s game, the team played against Maranatha Academy on Saturday. In another tough matchup, the Fire unfortunately lost 62-71. Leading scorers were Nate Hendler with 18pts, Griffin Johnson with 12pts, and Lincoln Cizek with 8pts.

The boys begin their string of eight straight away games this week with a contest vs. Spectrum High School on Tuesday at 7:30pm.