Perfection is no longer an option for the Roosevelt boys basketball team.
The top-ranked Rough Riders ran into a tough Marshall squad on the road Friday night and suffered a 67-51 setback to the Tigers (19-2), ranked fourth in Minnesota’s Class 3A.
Roosevelt (15-1) shot just 30 percent from the field, including 3 of 20 from 3-point range, and committed 15 turnovers in dropping their first game of the year.
On Saturday, coach Lee Taylor said his team was upset about losing its shot to join the Lincoln Patriots of 2008-09 as the only Class AA boys team to go undefeated (since the three-class system started in 1985-86).
But the ultimate goal for the Riders is to capture the school’s first boys title since 2000, and that mission is very much alive.
“Our goals are still intact, just like everybody else in the state,” said Taylor, whose team was led by Nate Cole with 15 points. “We have four games left to get better and make our push into the postseason. The boys were really working hard to chase an undefeated season, but that wasn’t our main objective.”
The Riders will visit Aberdeen Central on Tuesday before finishing the regular with home games against Washington, Brookings and Lincoln.
Taylor insisted that playing out-of-state teams like Marshall, St. Paul Highland Park and Florida prep school The Rock (in the Mike Miller Classic) are good opportunities for his program and he will continue to schedule that way.
Marshall, for one, has already defeated Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt this season and will visit Watertown on Tuesday.
“For us, it’s all about challenging ourselves,” said Taylor. “Win or lose, we want to get better and prepare for what’s ahead.”