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Stillwater junior Sam Shikenjanski goes up for a shot while defended by Mahtomedi post player Cole Chapman during the second half of their nonconference boys basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 4 at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette staff photo by Stuart Groskreutz)

WOODBURY — Eighth-ranked East Ridge built a 20-point halftime lead and dispatched Stillwater 81-56 in a Suburban East Conference boys basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at East Ridge High School.

University of Wisconsin recruit Ben Carlson tossed in 21 points to lead the Raptors (4-0 SEC, 7-4), who have won three in a row.

Stillwater (1-3, 5-6) received a team-high 20 points from freshman Max Shikenjanski, who connected on 9 of 10 free throws in the game. Max Richardson added 13 points for the Ponies, who climbed within 15 points with seven minutes remaining in the second half before East Ridge pulled away.

Sam and Max Shikenjanski each finished with five rebounds for the Ponies, who struggled against East Ridge’s length. The Raptors featured four players who were 6-foot-6 or taller on the court at the certain times. Sam Shikenjanski, a 6-foot-8 post player, is the only Stillwater regular listed at taller than 6-foot-3.

“We struggled with their length,” Ponies coach Brady Hannigan said. “They’re just tough. I thought our guys competed the whole night, more than the score showed at the end.”

Max Richardson added 13 points for the Ponies.

Drew Adams contributed 18 points for East Ridge, which also received 15 points from Kendall Blue and 13 from Zac Thomas.

Stillwater 22 34 — 56

East Ridge 42 39 — 81

Stillwater (pts): Max Richardson 13, Tyler Tompkins 7, Max Shikenjanski 20, Will Swanson 8, Sam Shikenjanski 4 and Ben Smalley 4.

East Ridge: Rob Jeter 2, Nolan Goetz 2, Kendall Blue 15, Drew Adams 18, Carson Koch 2, Zac Thomas 13, Brody Kriesel 8 and Ben Carlson 21.

Mahtomedi 48, Still 45

At Oak Park Heights, playing its second game in less than 24 hours, the Ponies fell short down the stretch in a 48-45 nonconference loss to Mahtomedi on Saturday, Jan. 4 at Stillwater Area High School.

The Zephyrs (5-4) were well rested after playing their first game in more than a week, but struggled in the first half to trail 25-18 at the break.

The game remained close throughout the second half, with the Ponies regaining a 34-33 lead on a lay-up by Max Shikenjanski with 8:15 remaining. Mahtomedi answered with a 7-0 run to built a 40-34 lead with 4:20 left to play.

Max Shikenjanski, who led the Ponies with 12 points, buried a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining to climb within 46-45 but Brody Fox hit two free throws to stretch the lead for the Zephyrs.

Stillwater had an opportunity with just one second remaining after getting fouled on a three-point attempt, but was unable to convert at the line.

“I thought at the end we didn’t get the stops we needed a couple of times,” Ponies coach Brady Hannigan said. “It was a low-scoring game, but the last few minutes there were a few spots we didn’t get that stop and let the game out of our grasp a little bit.”

Fox finished with 13 points to lead the Zephyrs, who also received 10 apiece from Cal Greene and Cole Chapman.

Max Richardson and Ben Smalley finished with 11 points each for Stillwater. Sam Shikenjanski led the Ponies with eight rebounds.

“I thought our guys played tough,” Hannigan said, noting his team drew three charging calls in the first half. “They’re a very good offensive team and we were able to hold them to 48 points. We did a pretty good job defensively. Offensively, we just didn’t get into a rhythm, but I was proud of how the guys played defense and rebounded.”

Mahtomedi 18 30 — 48

Stillwater 25 20 — 45

Mahtomedi (pts): Brody Fox 13, Aaron Moriarty 8, Austin Schulte 2, Cal Greene 10, Cole Chapman 10 and Will Underwood 5.

Stillwater: Max Richardson 11, Max Shikenjanski 12, Will Swanson 2, Ben Richardson 3, Sam Shikenjanski 6 and Ben Smalley 11.

Stillwater 58, SL Park 54

At Oak Park Heights, Ben Smalley scored 15 points to lead four Ponies in double figures as Stillwater knocked off St. Louis Park 58-54 in a nonconference game on Friday, Jan. 3 at SAHS.

The Ponies built a double-digit lead in the second half, but after turnovers on three straight possessions the Orioles (2-9) surged in front by a point with two minutes remaining. After rebounding a missed free throw on the other end, Ben Richardson was fouled and drained two clutch free throws with 30 seconds remaining for his only points of the game to give Stillwater the lead back.

“It wasn’t his best game, but those are huge free throws and he came into the moment when he needed to and hit two gigantic free throws for us,” Ponies coach Brady Hannigan said.

Stillwater held the Orioles scoreless down the stretch and added some free throws to extend its lead.

Sam Shikenjanski totaled 12 points while Max Richardson delivered 10 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. Will Swanson hit three 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 11 points.

“(Swanson) played some big minutes for us,” Hannigan said. “He did well and we had some other guys step up. We just played good defense and we rebounded the ball well.”

St. Louis Park’s Paris Johnson led all scorers with 28 points.

“He hit some big shots and got to the rim well,” Hannigan said. “We had a hard time keeping him away from the rim.”

St. Louis Park 17 37 — 54

Stillwater 21 37 — 58

St. Louis Park (pts): Cole Ewald 6, Will Dvorak 1, Erik Piehl 15, Aaron Ellingson 2, Paris Johnson 28 and Jackson McClain 2.

Stillwater: Max Richardson 10, Max Shikenjanski 8, Will Swanson 11, Ben Richardson 2, Sam Shikenjanski 12 and Ben Smalley 15.

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