It was only the third basketball game of the high school season, but Maple Grove's Will Soffel might want to burn a DVD of Tuesday's non-leaguer against Randolph and keep it for posterity.
Heck, he could edit it down to the first four minutes of the fourth quarter if he wanted to, because it was during that span that he put all his talents on display in leading the Red Dragons to a convincing 65-45 come-from-behind victory over their arch rivals.
The senior guard was simply that good.
Maple Grove’s Will Soffel puts up a jumper in front of Randolph’s Nathan Beaver during Division 2 boys basketball action on Tuesday. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Scott Kindberg
All he did was score nine points - a traditional three-point play sandwiched between a pair of jumpers from beyond the arc - and make a nifty pass for another hoop that highlighted Maple Grove's dominant second half.
In combination with senior Aaron Germain, who added 19 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, and junior Corey Wefing, Maple Grove (2-1) was able to erase a three-point halftime deficit by wearing the Cardinals down with man-to-man pressure.
''We definitely had to turn up the heat a little bit,'' Red Dragons coach Curt Fischer said.
Until then, the Cardinals (1-2) executed well against Maple Grove's zone, found the open man - junior Mitchell Maycock nailed four treys - and took a 33-30 lead into the locker room at intermission.
The second half was a different story entirely.
Sparked by seven points from Germain, the Red Dragons went on a 15-3 third-quarter run, holding Randolph without a field goal and building a 45-36 lead heading into the final period. The surge was capped by Wefing's 3-pointer at the buzzer.
''Corey is just an excellent athlete, obviously, and he's one of those kids who could play any sport and be successful,'' Fischer said. ''His speed and quickness caused havoc and I thought his intensity on the defensive end may have changed the game. He and (Germain) were all over the place in the second half.''
Armed with a nine-point lead, Soffel put to rest any hopes Randolph had of a comeback.
''We lost a little composure in the third quarter,'' Cardinals coach Kevin Hind said. ''We got tired, their man-to-man bothered us and it got real physical. In the first half, we played great. ... We made some shots. (In the second half), our legs weren't under us, but Maple Grove did a good job, they played hard, they wanted it.''
After Graham Soffel drilled a 3-pointer to pad Maple Grove's lead to 48-36, Will Soffel found Wefing with a great pass that resulted in layup. That prompted Hind to call a timeout, but that didn't stop the Soffel show.
After back-to-back hoops by Cody Oldro and Taylor Miller trimmed the Red Dragons' lead to 50-40, Soffel drained a 3-pointer, made a steal that resulted in a traditional three-point play and then canned another jumper from deep.
The chants of ''Let's go, Soffel,'' rained down from the Maple Grove student section.
But, really, the senior needed no inspiration.
When Soffel was removed from the game in the closing moments, he received a hug from his coach.
''Will has worked so hard for so long,'' Fischer said.
NOTES: Maycock led Randolph with 12 points, while Oldro and Nathan Beaver each had 10. Beaver also had 11 rebounds and five assists. ... The Cardinals' football team and coaching staff were honored in a pregame ceremony. ''What they did was nothing less than spectacular,'' Fischer said. ''You always have to recognize something as special as that.'' ... Randolph won the junior varsity game with a shot at the buzzer.
Garcia 0 0 0, Milliman 0 0 0, Brown 1 0 3, Maycock 4 0 12, McAllister 1 0 2, Miller 2 1 5, Morrison 1 0 3, Beaver 4 2 10, Oldro 4 2 10, Totals 17 5 45.
MAPLE GROVE (65)
Tampe 0 0 0, Green 0 0 0, Richardson 1 0 2, Kistner 2 0 5, WSoffel 8 2 21, Ahlstrom 0 0 0, GSoffel 2 0 5, Wefing 3 0 7, Germain 6 6 19, Goerke 3 0 6, Beaton 0 0 0, Swanson 0 0 0, Stack 0 0 0, Totals 25 8 65.
3-point goals-Brown, Maycock 4, Morrison, Kistner, WSoffel 3, Goffel, Wefing, Germain.
Randolph15 18 3 9 - 45
Maple Grove13 17 15 20 - 65
Jayvees: Randolph won