ELGIN – Faith Lutheran's gym isn't large enough to hold a regulation game. During practice, it's even too small to hit a 3-pointer from the corner.
On Tuesday night, playing against a giant Mooseheart team, 3-pointers were pretty much all the Saints were allowed to shoot. They made seven, but that wasn't nearly enough to stay with the Red Ramblers in a 74-40 loss at the Class 1A Westminster Christian Sectional.
Faith Lutheran (7-21) knew it was overmatched against a Mooseheart team that will be a conference opponent starting next season. Six-foot-7 Mangisto Deng led Mooseheart (22-5) with 20 while 6-10 Makur Puou scored 12 and 7-1 Akim Nyang added four.
"We just wanted to make them catch the ball as far away as possible," Faith Lutheran coach Aaron Boettjer said.
Jake Larson led the Saints with 18 while Matt Van Antwerp scored 13 and Ben Boyer added eight.
"I thought our perimeter defenders stood around too much," Mooseheart coach Ron Ahrens said. "They were content with allowing guys to shoot a 3 instead of running out on them."
With the game out of reach following a 28-11 second-quarter advantage for Mooseheart, Boettjer emptied his bench so all 10 active players saw time.
The coach said he had players on his 15-man roster this year with no organized basketball experience, but that was part of the fun of putting together a team at a school with just 77 students that plays its home games at Immanuel Lutheran's grade school.
"We make it work," Boettjer said.