Trojans top Crimson at Tip-Off Classic

The New Prague Trojans are 2-1 on the season after defeating Maple Grove in The Breakdown Tip-Off Classic Saturday, Dec. 8, at Minnetonka High School.

Earlier in the week the Trojans lost to Section 1AAA rival Albert Lea. The Trojans were scheduled to host Holy Family Catholic on Tuesday, Dec. 11, then will go on a two-game road trip this weekend. They play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at Alexandria and at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Willmar.

New Prague returns home to face Delano Tuesday, Dec. 18, and Section 1AAA foe Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, Dec. 20, before taking a break for the Christmas holiday.

Tigers 65, Trojans 60

Playing without senior Joe Kneip, out with an illness, coach Aaron Jasperson said his inexperienced team learned a lot about coming ready to play each and every night.

“We fell behind early, but the kids battled the whole way,” Jasperson said. “We came up short. Give Albert Lea credit. They played hard the whole night and had a lot of fire.” The Tigers led 33-25 at halftime.

The Trojans were led by junior Paul Friendshuh, who had 20 points. Senior Luke Rynda added 10. Others scoring were Blake Wooten (9), Nick Johnson (7), Kyle Stepka (6), Greg Vogel (5), Michael Soderlund (2) and Kyle Zweber (1). Friendshuh and Vogel pulled down seven rebounds each for the Trojans and Johnson added six. Wooten dished out four assists.

Trojans 64, Crimson 56

New Prague grabbed an early lead and never relented, claiming a 64-56 win over Class AAAA Maple Grove Saturday at the Tip-off Classic in Minnetonka.

New Prague led 32-27 at halftime, and the Crimson made several second-half runs, but Trojan senior Luke Rynda hit three second-half three-pointers at key points in the game to keep the Trojans on top.

“Tuesday’s loss helped improve the team’s focus,” Jasperson said. “It is an honor to be invited to play in this event, and I told the players before the game that they were playing not only for themselves, but all the players, coaches, and parents that helped get New Prague to this point. They owed it to them to make a strong showing to the basketball community about what kind of a program we have.

“Joe [Kneip] played, but was still recoving from his illness. We had a great effort from all 10 players. Paul Friendshuh carried us the first 10 minutes and Kyle Stepka played well.”

Friendshuh led the Trojans with 16 points, while Stepka had 12 and Johnson 11. Others scoring were Rynda (9), Soderlund (8), Jake Ryan (4), Wooten (3) and Vogel (1).

Friendshuh also had team highs in rebounds (8), and assists (4). Soderlund and Stepka both had five rebounds. New Prague shot 53 percent from the field.