Warriors snap 72-game TRC win streak by beating PEM 67-58

Josh Lampert (5) looked for an opening in the PEM defense during the Warriors' nine-point victory over the Bulldogs last week. Also shown is Caledonia's Willie Cordes (11). Photo by Zach Thomas

By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor

The Caledonia boys basketball team did something no other team in the Three Rivers Conference has been able to do for nearly five seasons…beat Plainview-Elgin-Millville.

The PEM Bulldog’s 72-game conference winning streak came to an end on Jan. 17 when Caledonia topped the visiting Bulldogs 67-58 before a large and very vocal Caledonia crowd.

“This was a huge win for our program,” a very happy coach Josh Diersen said. “PEM came in here state-ranked and hadn’t lost a conference game since 2008. We were the last TRC team to beat them.

Caledonia's Andrew Kilger went up in heavy traffic for two of his team-high 17 points against the PEM Bulldogs last week. Photo by Zach Thomas

“Our kids played very well. They took care of the ball. They played great defense. We pressed them most of the night and towards the end of the game, that really wore them out and I feel was the difference in the game.”

Diersen utilized a four-guard offense most of the night, which seem to keep PEM on their heels.

“With our press, we were able to keep PEM out of their rhythm. Not many teams are able to press PEM successfully. But our kids played very hard and they made it work.”

The game was deadlocked at 33-all at the half. Thanks to some improved outside shooting, the Warriors outscored PEM 34-25 in the second half. The Warriors made 8 of 17 treys (47 percent), which is much better than the past few games.

Caledonia hit 11 of 21 free throws, shot 46 percent from the field and had just 15 turnovers.

“We took care of the ball. That was a big factor in this game,” Diersen added.

Andrew Kilger led the Warriors in scoring with 17 points. He also had six rebounds. Josh Lampert added 16 points, had seven rebounds and six steals. Alex Varney had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Willie Cordes, who left the game in the first half with a cut above his eye, scored eight points and two rebounds. Ryan Frank had five points, Nathan Rohrer had three points, six rebounds and four assists, Kevin Lapham had two points and Ryan Eppen had two points.

Up next

The Warriors host a tough Kingsland team on Jan. 24. The Knights topped the Warriors in the season opener by 32 points. Diersen feels this game will be different, as the Warriors were just coming off their state football championship run and had a number of players out with injuries.

“Kingsland has a good club. They are tough to beat. But I feel we’ll have a better chance this week.

The game with the Knights is at Spring Valley.

Friday the Warriors travel to Chatfield to battle a good Gopher team.

You can contact Charlie Warner at [email protected]

Alex Varney (42) used a screen by Eric Houdek to get this jump shot off during Caledonia's 67-58 win over PEM last week. Varney finished the night with a double-double- 14 points and 10 rebounds. Photo by Zach Thomas