Bloomington Jefferson looked to keep its winning streak alive and solidify its spot near the top of the Lake Conference. In order to do it, they had to travel to Apple Valley who was looking to finish strong and go into the playoffs over .500 and on a roll.
Apple Valley got out to a great start by getting the ball inside and scoring points in the paint. They built a seven point lead early in the game. The Jaguars toughened up the interior defense and got out on the break to take the lead for the first time in the game. Marcus Alipate and Chad Foslien led the charge offensively while the interior defense was not allowing the wide open passing lanes from earlier in the game.
The tide turned again as the Eagles, led by David Bauer and Tom Schalk scoring and Varmah Sonie distributing the ball and running a great floor game. They tied the game up shortly before half. Neither team could get much separation late in the half, but Jefferson was able to take a three point lead off of a Chad Gilmer three pointer just before the buzzer.
Two players really dominated the first half action. Marcus Alipate led the Jaguars with nine points at the half with a variety of scoring options. He was able to hit the mid-range jumper and get to the rim off the dribble. The biggest story of the first half was the play of the senior forward Bauer. Bauer's sweet stroke led all scorers with 14 points at the half. He was deadly from 12 to 15 feet, especially when he was being set up by Sonie.
The scoring picked up in the second half. Both teams were able to move the ball effectively and found the range from beyond the arch. Marcus Alipate continued his strong play shooting and passing. It seemed like he had either a basket or an assist every time the Jaguars scored in the first few minutes. The Eagles offense was much more balanced in the second half. Bauer was kept off the board for the first ten minutes of the second half, but his team picked up the scoring slack. Mitch Bires and Steve Parks turned up the scoring to keep the game close.
A six point spurt by Bloomington Jefferson, led by Moses Alipate's scoring, passing and rebounding, gave his team the first significant lead for either team in the second half. The lead got up to eight before the Eagles took a time out to attempt to re-group.
They re-grouped for a short time out of the time out, but after tying the game up, the Jaguars regained a lead with less than five minutes to go. Bires led the Eagle comeback, but the balance of Jefferson kept the Eagles at arm's length.
The Alipate brothers were strong in the second half for Jefferson. Marcus continued his fine play and older brother Moses really found the touch around the basket in the second half. Held nearly scoreless in the first half, he chipped in 13 points for the game.
Maybe sensing the game slipping away, the Eagles shot selection was rushed and very poor down the stretch. Jefferson took advantage and quickly put the game away off of a good controlled fast break. What was a close game throughout became a Jefferson route late.
Despite Bauer's 19 points and Bires' 16, Apple Valley couldn't overcome Marcus Alipate's game high 22 points, Moses Alipate's 13 points and Gilmer's 11. The 75-58 win will most likely not be enough to catch Eden Prairie for the conference championship, but will push the Jaguar record to 15-7 with another shot at Eden Prairie to finish the regular season.