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Cromwell Cardinals keep winning; knock off Mercuries 75-60 in boys basketball

MCGREGOR, Minn. - When Cromwell's leading-scorer Tyler Burggraff went down with a foot injury a week ago, head boys basketball coach Bill Pocernich was left wondering who was going to pick up the scoring duties for the Cardinals.

MCGREGOR, Minn. - When Cromwell's leading-scorer Tyler Burggraff went down with a foot injury a week ago, head boys basketball coach Bill Pocernich was left wondering who was going to pick up the scoring duties for the Cardinals.

Tuesday night in McGregor, Pocernich got his answer - the whole team.

Even without their senior all-conference forward, Cromwell used a complete team effort with four players scoring in double digits en route to burying the host Mercuries 75-60 in the Polar League Conference affair.

The fast-paced contest started quickly, as the Cardinals (7-1 overall; 5-1 Polar League Conference) used an array of long-range bombs from behind the arc and a handful of jumpers to put McGregor (2-7; 0-5) down early. Their hot shooting led Cromwell to a 39-28 advantage at the end of the first frame.

"Being on the road, we felt strong at halftime," said Pocernich about his Cardinals. "We came out hot and really shot the ball well."

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After the break, Cromwell continued to pour it on, as they jumped to a 20-point lead early on. However, foul trouble put a couple Cardinals on the bench and allowed the Mercuries to creep within 11. But they never came any closer, allowing Cromwell to roll to the 15-point conference win.

The Cardinals all-around offensive attack was led by junior guard Cody Smith, who nailed five three-pointers on his way to a game-high 20 points, while senior guard Adam Smith tallied 17 points and junior guard Jordan Smith recorded 15 on the night.

Junior guard Ryan Hutar also poured in 10 points for Cromwell, while sophomore forward Jordan Suhonen racked up nine points and junior center Nolan Wester added four in the conference victory for the Cards'.

"I'm happy with the way we're playing right now," said Pocernich. "But even though we're playing well, we still have some things to work on."

McGregor was guided by senior center Ryan Napstad, who scored a team-leading 14 points, while senior guard Matt Carlstrom followed with 12 points on the night. Freshman guard Alex Carlstrom also posted nine points for the Mercs', while sophomore center Preston Hurd ended the evening with 10 in the loss.

Cromwell, whose only loss this season was to Floodwood last week, will now head home to more conference action against a solid Wrenshall squad at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16. They will travel up north to Grand Marais Tuesday, Jan. 20, to do battle against Cook County at 6:30 p.m.

"These kids know everything it takes to win, but we have to keep at it," said Pocernich about his team who has had numerous winning seasons in the past. "Our schedule is tough, but as long as we stay together, we should be solid."

And for the whole scoring thing, the injured Burggraff plans to return up the road, and when he does; well, the Cardinals will be flying higher than ever.

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