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Voyageur's Best Sports of 2005

Jake Root

Single-game scoring record tied
Jake Root ties single-game scoring record
by J.C. Horton  |  February 1, 2005

Entering the home game versus the Cotton Cardinals on Thursday, January 27, the McGregor Mercuries were striving to get their record to .500 for the season. They did not disappoint themselves. Although the game was more of a struggle than many had hoped it would be, some very good things came out of it. The most noteable was a 41-point performance by Jake Root.

When asked about his comments on the game head coach Kris Rinta had this to say, “Obviously I’m very happy for Jake, it was neat to see him tie the record.” The record was the single game scoring record for McGregor varsity boys’ basketball. By scoring 41 points, Jake Root tied the record also held by Nate Jensen (1993-94) and Wade Oesterich (1988-89).

Coach Rinta also felt that Michaa Aubid’s 13 rebounds added to the evening’s success. Another team goal was to attack the basket and penetrate more often; while keeping turn overs down. That goal was met as the team only turned the ball over 11 times. The Mercuries also made 22 of 28 free throws for 79 percent. Eleven of those were made by Root on his way to his record tying night.

Despite a very tenacious McGregor man-to-man defense, Cotton stayed even after one quarter and was within six points at the half. Jake was already halfway to 41 and, collectively the team put up 35 points.

Cotton, however, had a Jake of their own, as in Jake Williams. Willliams' 15 points at the half allowed the Cardinals to hang around; as they trailed by only six points, 35-29.

McGregor came out in the second half and immediately built up a ten point lead. It appeared that it might be “lights out” for the Cardinals, but during the next three minutes, it appeared that the Mercuries were suffering from a mental lapse. Turnovers and one lone free throw by Josh Napstad was all McGregor could muster up; while the Cardinals went on a “mini-surge” scoring eleven. At the 3:46 mark of the third period it was deadlocked at 42-42 when Coach Rinta called a full time out to instruct his team.

Following the time out Anthony Pierce responded by scoring six of his eleven points on the night and Rich Franko and Josh Napstad each added two. The third quarter ended with McGregor regaining control by a score of 52-48.

In the final period the Mercuries solidified their defense once again, holding Cotton to a mere seven points. Meanwhile, Jake Root capped off a record setting 41 points and a team victory. The final score was 73-55, upping the Mercs record on the season to six wins and six losses.

Bombers On Target

Within 24 hours after working to get back to .500 with a win against the Cotton Cardinals, the Mercuries went on the road to Barnum to play the Polar League Conference leaders. The Mercuries controlled the opening tip, but Barnum controlled the game on defense on their way to a 73-44 victory.

Turnovers and missed shot attempts kept McGregor scoreless until midway through the first quarter when Andy Pierce scored McGregor’s first two points. Barnum’s Jake Lambert, Ryan Switzer and Wes Cummins continued their offensive onslaught and before long Barnum led 12-2.

McGregor’s Michaa Aubid and Jake Root held the team close, including a nifty release off a press break, and the Mercuries only trailed 19-14 after the first period.

It was Barnum’s ball to open the second quarter and Jake Lambert took over on the boards as well as scoring nine points in this quarter. Combined with points from Cummins, Willie Carlson, Nate Collelo, Carl Switzer and A. J. Palmer, Barnum scored 23 points while holding McGregor to 11.

What was witnessed in the second quarter was repeated in the second half and when the final horn sounded, Barnum had defeated McGregor by a score of 79-44.

Jake Root led all scorers with 20 points and Barnum’s Jake Lambert led his team with 18. Barnum had four players in double figures, while McGregor had one. The Mercuries shot 71 percent from the free throw line; to Barnum’s 56 percent.

McGregor hosts Albrook at home on Tuesday, February 1, and hit the road for several games. They play at Esko on February 4, followed by Montgomery-Lonsdale at Target Center on Saturday, February 5. Next week the Mercs travel to Silver Bay on Monday, February 7 and to Floodwood on Tuesday, February 8. The team invites the fans to come on out, they would appreciate your support!

This article first appeared in the February 1, 2005 issue of the Voyageur Press.