Warriors Show Inside Strength In Victory Over Mount Mercy

The Warriors continued to dominate inside, on the glass and play determined defense, and host Mount Marty had no answer.
Six-foot-9 senior Kaden Verdin proved to be unstoppable, scoring a game-high 20 points, while teammate and 6-10 senior Osahen Iduwe grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, fueling Waldorf’s inside attack that knocked off the Lancers, 63-60, in non-conference men’s basketball Friday night.
“The first game back from break is always interesting,” Waldorf head coach Nigel Jenkins said. “We found a way to win; our defense stepped up down the stretch.
“We closed the year out with a win,” Waldorf’s coach added. “We need to get to work so we can keep this up next year.”
Returning to the hardwood after the Christmas break, Waldorf won its sixth game in its last seven outings by taking control early, then never letting go of the lead.
A Brady Kuchinka 3-pointer, two buckets by Eric English inside, a Joseph Glover 3-ball and a Brian Smith bucket capped a balanced 12-3 charge by Waldorf (9-8 overall, 4-1 NSAA) for an early 22-12 lead.
A Jordan Portee deuce stretched the lead to as much as 31-16 before the Lancers (2-13, 0-7 GPAC) whittled away, closing to 34-29 down before halftime.
Waldorf responded to the Mount Marty run by feeding Verdin, who scored seven points early in the second half, pushing the Warriors back out to a double-digit lead up 47-36.
An English layup with 14 minutes to go gave Waldorf a 51-38 advantage, then it became hold-on time as the Lancers battled to erase their deficit.
Mount Marty almost erased all of the Warriors lead, closing to 59-58 down, and to 61-60 back with one minute left.
Waldorf held on late, though, with determined defense as a Glover block thwarted one Lancer attempt to go on top, then English and Portee added steals late, with Portee scoring a fast-break layup that iced the win.
“Portee did a great job to get a steal and layup in the final seconds to secure the win,” said Jenkins, whose team now returns to North Star Athletic Association play next Friday at Presentation having knocked off a bit of holiday rust.
Rust that led to 17 turnovers on the night, which helped keep the Lancers in the game despite Waldorf outshooting its hosts 44.6 percent to 35.7 percent, and dominating the glass, 39-27.
“We have to take care of the ball better moving forward,” Jenkins said. “I can’t remember the last time we had this many turnovers. Rust or not, it’s unacceptable.”