Brian Rathjen/NT Sports Editor

Garrett McLaren – seen in action earlier this week against Maryville – started suiting up for the Atlantic varsity team a few weeks ago and is seeing more and more varsity minutes. His three-point basket Friday against Council Bluffs St. Albert gave the Trojans a lead they would never give up in a 69-49 victory on the road.

COUNCIL BLUFFS – A three-point basket by Council Bluffs St. Albert’s Genereux gave the Falcons a 13-11 lead over Atlantic after the first quarter of play.

It was one of the few times the Trojans trailed all evening long.

Good defense and a strong offensive showing by leading scorer Skyler Handlos helped the Trojans snap a four-game losing streak in convincing style, 69-49, over the Falcons Friday night in Council Bluffs.

After a pair of disappointing losses earlier this week to Harlan and Maryville, coach Jeff Ebling was happy that his team was able to pick up a good all-around team victory.

“We played pretty well the entire night,” said Ebling. “We got quite a few assists makign the extra pass to get the extra look, and overall it was a really good team win.

The Trojans defense forced St. Albert to shoot from the perimeter and otherwise take shots they weren’t comfortable taking. The scouting report showed the Falcons have been shooting 22 percent from beyond the arc, and Atlantic exploited that shortcoming with pressure on the inside.

“When they did take outside jumpers we boxed out and limited them to one shot and not a ton of offensive rebounds,” said Ebling. “That let our lead grow the first three quarters.”

Offensively, that extra pass that Ebling spoke of got the Trojans to the hoop with increasing ease and steadily allowed them to build on a 29-21 halftime lead.

A three-point basket by Garrett McLaren early in the second period gave Atlantic a 14-13 lead, and the Trojans never trailed again as they eventually would lead by 25 midway through the fourth period.

Skyler Handlos led the Trojans (8-11) with 22 points, followed by 14 from Dayton Templeton and 13 from Nile Petersen.

“Skyler was just consistent getting to the rim and hitting jumpers and a couple of threes,” said Ebling, also noting how he complemented Templeton and Petersen. “Even with those who didn’t score a lot played really well. Grant Sturm was making some great passes to give us some open looks.

“Everyone we put out there, we felt confident in all their abilities and all the guys were locked in and did a great job on the defensive game plan,” he continued.

The Trojans will try to build on Friday’s win with Monday’s home-court rematch against Harlan. Ebling says his team knows the Cyclones are a good ball club, as evidenced by forcing a continuous clock early in the second half before they cruised to the 71-41 win.

“We know that game’s over and we’re going to come out and see if we can’t get that win against Harlan,” said Ebling. “We’ve got to be better than we were this (past) Monday and we will be.”

A road game at Denison-Schleswig on Friday rounds out the regular season.

St. Albert (7-12) was led by Sam Rallis’ 20.