Tribune staff report
COLLEGEVILLE - Minnewaska scored the biggest of its eight wins earlier this week when the Lakers won their opening game of the Section 6AA South Sub-Section playoffs in the final seconds against New London-Spicer.
That high, following a disappointing regular season, would prove short-lived against Litchfield on Saturday.
The Dragons controlled all aspects of the game and handled the Lakers 61-43 at St. John's University.
Litchfield (22-4) plays Benson (18-9) for the sub-section championship at 6 p.m. Tuesday at St. John's University in Collegeville.
The Dragons shot 60 percent from the field in the first half against Minnewaska and took an eight-point lead into halftime. They didn't drop off much in the second and finished hitting 22 of 40 shots (55 percent) from the field.
The one downside from their performance, according to head coach John Carlson, was 6-of-17 3-point shooting.
"We can do better than that," Carlson said. "We're a good shooting team."
Litchfield was adept at getting to the basket and converting once inside, Carlson said, and the Dragons weathered some early foul trouble.
"I thought our guys adjusted well," Carlson said. "I was pleased with the way they hung in there."
Lakers, who finished 8-18.
Minnewaska (8-18)...............................................20 23 -- 43
Litchfield (22-4)....................................................28 33 -- 61
MINNEWASKA - 12-36 FG (4-15 3-pt); 15-17 FT; 22 rebounds; 17 fouls ... Scoring: Blake Johnsrud 7, Jeff Pooler 2, Trenton Noetzelman 4, Austin Giese 8, Andrew Ostrander 8, Austin Ostrander 11, Jayden Beecher 3 ... 3-point shots: Giese 1, Andrew Ostrander 1, Austin Ostrander 1, Beecher 1 ... Rebound leaders: Andrew Ostrander 5 ... Assist leaders: Giese 3 ... Steal leaders: Johnsrud 3
LITCHFIELD - 22-40 FG (6-17 3-pt); 11-21 FT; 28 rebounds; 17 fouls ... Scoring: Zach Whitchurch 17, Dylan Koll 9, Jon Terning 11, Zach Kinny 5, Mitch Wollin 9, Quinn Anderson 1, Riley Pater 7, David Brown 2 ... 3-point shots: Whitchurch 5, Terning 1 ... Rebound leaders: Kinny 6, Koll 5, Terning 5 ... Assist leaders: Kinny 9 ... Steal leaders: Kinny 2, Koll 2
That poise is something that the Dragons have shown all season, and it's not likely the pressure of being two wins from a state tournament trip will faze them.
"This time of year, if you're not ready to play, there's something wrong with you," Carlson said with a chuckle.
Litchfield's Zach Whitchurch was the team's lone hot 3-point shooter on Saturday, hitting 5 of 7 3s and scoring a game-high 17 points.
Jon Terning had 11 and Dylan Koll and Mitch Wollin both scored 9. Point guard Zach Kinny had 5 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists.
Austin Ostrander led Minnewaska with 11 points and Andrew Ostrander and Austin Giese both scored 8 for the Lakers, who finished 8-18.