Kubista scores 22 as Huskies maul Raiders for ninth-straight win
The last time the Owatonna boys basketball team faced Northfield, the Huskies came out on the wrong end, falling 80-67 in Northfield. Tuesday, the Huskies hosted the Raiders and showed the growth that has been made since that Dec. 13 matchup.
Powered by a quick 12-2 run to start the game, the Huskies (12-3, 10-2 Big Nine) mauled the Raiders 73-57 in Big Nine Conference action at the OHS gymnasium.
“Confidence-wise it was huge,” noted Owatonna head coach Josh Williams on the quick run to start the game. “Northfield’s one of the best team we played, they’re a great team. to come out of the gates like we did, getting stops, making shots it really set the tone for the game.”
Guiding the Huskies to that quick run to start the game was a mix of quick ball movement on the offensive end and stifling defense. Utilizing the full court press, Owatonna managed to force three turnovers that would transition into points. After Jason Williamson was able to come up with a loose ball, the sophomore’s slam forced the Raiders to call a quick timeout.
On the ensuing possession, the pace of the game drastically changed as the Raiders switched to a zone defense, making the pace on the offensive end for Owatonna slow. As Williams noted afterward, the Raiders were forced into a similar situation as the Huskies focused on just being solid and not giving up easy buckets.
Despite the slowed tempo, Owatonna made the most of the shots they took. In the first half, the Huskies shot 69.6 percent from the field, connecting on 16-of-23 while Northfield shot a dismal 37.5, making only nine shots in the half. Owatonna would finish the contest shooting 64.4 percent from the field compared to just 44 percent for Northfield. Much of the Huskies success came from the hot hand of junior Dalton Kubista.
Prior to Tuesday night’s contest, the junior has averaged 24.3 points per game during the Huskies’ winning streak. Despite only taking 12 shots, Kubista connected on seven on his way to a game-high 22 points. 14 of which, would come in the first half.
After a small Raiders’ run cut the lead to seven, Owatonna answered with a run of its own. On a basket by Alex Raichle at the buzzer, the Huskies finished the half with a 14-6 run and took a 38-23 lead into the half.
Coming out of the half with a large deficit, the Raiders would quickly go on a 7-1 run that cut the lead to 53-41 just minutes into the first half. If not for the large Owatonna run to start the game, it may have been a closer contest. Owatonna and Northfield would play almost even in the second half as the Huskies would outscore the Raiders just 35-34.
Much of the Huskies’ success came from the crisp ball movement on the offensive end. After having only one Husky reach double-figures in the first half, Kubista would be joined by a trio of Huskies. Jay Sullivan and Raichle each scored 10 points on a combined 9-of-16 while Andrew Jackson added 11 points and six rebounds. The difference was at the line in the second half.
The Huskies shot 72.7 percent from the charity stripe after having 17 attempts from the line – much of which came in the final minutes of the second half – while the Raiders were a mere 60 percent.
Mitchell Stanchina and Hunter Koep paced the Raiders with 11 and 17 points respectively.
Owatonna will be back in action on Thursday at home against Big Nine Conference foe Austin.