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Class D-1 Warriors too hot for Swedes

A 6-foot-7 foreign exchange student seemed right at home on the basketball court with his teammates from Arapahoe as the state-ranked Warriors defeated the Gothenburg Swedes 62-52 on Jan. 8.

Stefan Milvanovic was an all-around leader for the Warriors, scoring 26 points from both inside the paint and outside the arc.

“He was definitely a nice addition to their team,” said Gothenburg coach Roger Koehler of Milvanovic. “He’s a good player.”

But Milvanovic, who finished with 26 points and five rebounds, wasn’t the only Arapahoe player to give the Swedes fits.

Warrior senior Isaac Watson sank four of Arapahoe’s six three-pointers, drawing Swede defenders out of the paint.

“We played fairly well,” Koehler said, “but they’re a solid team.”

Gothenburg battled theClass D-1 No. 9 state-ranked warriors, taking an early 8-4 lead on strong inside play of Swede sophomore Tanner Borchardt, who scored six of his team high 15 points in the first quarter.

“Tanner had a nice game,” the coach said. “He has really raised his level of play in the last few games.”

But with a three-pointer from Watson with 18 seconds left in the first quarter, the Warriors gained an 11-10 lead and, despite staying close, Gothenburg couldn’t get on top again.

Arapahoe pulled ahead 23-16 midway through the second period on three consecutive buckets by Milvanovic and finished the half with a 25-20 advantage.

Swede senior Logan Koehler opened the second half with a pair of three-point plays.

The first came from a shot behind the arc and the second was an old-fashioned hoop-and-harm play that ended with the post player making a free throw.

Regardless of Gothenburg’s fairly consistent scoring, including six straight points by senior Aaron Collins, Arapahoe maintained the upper hand.

Milvanovic put up 11 points in the third period to keep the Warriors rolling and Arapahoe made 7-of-14 free throws in the fourth period to seal the deal.

Borchardt finished with 15 points and seven rebounds while Logan Koehler chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

Aaron Collins, who sustained a knee injury in the third period, finished with 10 points. The coach said Collins will be questionable for this week’s matchup with Broken Bow as well as next week’s Southwest Conference tournament.

“Aaron has been more aggressive lately going to the hole,” Koehler said. “We’re definitely going to miss him.”

Others, the coach said, have stepped up and will need to continue to elevate their game in his absence.

“Connor (Schwanz) has started hitting some outside shots and we need someone to do that,” Koehler said. “Blake (Ristine) has stepped up his game as well and others are coming along.”

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