MINNEAPOLIS -- The ice packs came out after Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa defeated Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin 56-36 in the first of two Class A semifinals at the Target Center on Friday afternoon.
"On second thought, I guess I will have one," said Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa senior forward Kirby Montbriand after he scored 10 points in the Jaguars emphatic 56-36 victory over MLBO in the Class A semifinals.
"Yeah, I hit the floor a couple of times," said Montbriand, who scored 10 points to help lead the Jaguars to Saturday's Class A championship game for the second straight year. "I'm OK."
Bags of ice were handed out in both dressing rooms after the physical game that had players hitting the floor with regularity. Tony Donkhong, a Wolverines' guard, was holding an icepack under his left eye.
The height factor was similar but MLBO's forwards were stouter and broader in the shoulder.
The leaner Jaguars showed they could match the Wolverines blow-for-blow.
The Section 2A champs hung with the No. 1-seeded Jags for one half. It was 36-31 at the break.
But the Wolverines were unable to get anything accomplished offensively in the second half scoring just 5 points on 2 of 22 shooting.
"They had three guys with three fouls at half and we had none so we knew we could be aggressive and they might be tentative," said BBE head coach Kirby Montbriand.
Both teams shot just 31 percent from the floor.
"We were not shooting well, but the guys bore down and played better defense."
The Jags switched from their typical 1-3-1 zone to man defense in the second half.
"They run a 1-3-1 zone, and we were able to make them come out of that and play us man," said Shawn Naas, the MLBO head coach. "That's usually our bread-and-butter. We did well to make them come out of the zone but they played good man-to-man, too. They're pretty good, no matter what."
Connor Goodwin, BBE's 6-7 senior center, supplied 18 points and 13 rebounds, both game highs.
"50 and 44 were really big," said Goodwin, whose sophomore brother Brian sliced through the Wolverines interior for most of his 15 points. "I got a few bruises. Yeah, we watched them yesterday and knew it would be physical."
No. 50 is 6-foot-6 Carter Kirk and No. 44 is 6-4 senior Beau Herrig. The two tight-end looking forwards combined for 21 points 16 rebounds.
Naas said few teams have been able to contend with the Wolverines' wide-bodies.
"BBE is big inside and they matched up with our big guys real well. Most teams this year haven't been able to do that. They shoot so well from the outside that it took a lot of energy to play defense against them."
BBE wore the Wolverines down the second half.
"We tried many, many different sets to get us going and we just couldn't get it done," said Naas. "We're not very deep and I think we just ran out of gas."
Mountain Lake, before pairing, was the runner-up in the first state tournament 100 years ago. The school won the 1939 state title but last was back in 1952; Butterfield-Odin had one visit in 1978.
BBE's only other trip was last year, when the Jags lost to Springfield in the final and finished 32-1; this year they're 32-0 with one game to go.
The Jaguars will need to check their radar before today's game at noon against Southwest Minnesota Christian (28-1). Three-point shooting was 22 percent on 5 of 23.
Billy Borgerding got the Jaguars started with a 3-pointer but the 6-6 sophomore was 2 of 11 overall from the arc.
But there's always defense.
Brian Goodwin, one of the most dynamic players in the tournament, commented that just like the 85-76 quarterfinal victory over high-scoring Lakeview Christian at Williams Arena a day earlier, "Defense is the key for us."
Southwest Minnesota Christian, which won four straight state titles at the turn of the century, suffered its only loss on Jan. 6, by one point to Worthington, the Section 3A champion.
Zach Huisken, a 6-foot-9 senior, is averaging 19 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Dominic Nibbelink runs the show and scored at an 11 points per game clip. The Eagles beat Dawson-Boyd for the 3A championship.
BBE 56, Mt. Lake/BO 36
MLBO (25-6) 31 5 -- 36
BBE (32-0) 36 20 -- 56
MOUNTAIN LAKE/BUTTERFIELD-ODIN - 14-45 FG (5-8 3-pt); 3-10 FT; 38 rebounds; 20 fouls ... Scoring: Andrew Hempeck 1-2 0-0 2, Kyle Thiessen 1-6 0-0 3, Cody Penner 3-5 0-0 8, Beau Herrig 4-16 2-4 12, Carter Kirk 4-9 1-6 9, Kaleb Grev 1-3 0-0 2 ... 3-point shots: Thiessen 1-2, Penner 2-2, Herrig 2-3 ... Rebound leaders: Herrig 9, Grev 8, Kirk 7 ... Assist leaders: Hempeck 2, Herrig 2 ... Steal leaders: Thiessen 1 ... Blocks: Kirk 5
BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA - 19-61 FG (5-23 3-pt); 13-19 FT; 42 rebounds; 14 fouls ... Scoring: James Kuefler 1-3 1-2 3, Billy Borgerding 3-14 2-2 10, Kirby Montbriand 3-10 2-5 10, Brian Goodwin 6-18 2-2 15, Connor Goodwin 6-14 6-8 18 ... 3-point shots: Borgerding 2-11, Montbriand 2-6, B. Goodwin 1-5 ... Rebound leaders: C. Goodwin 13, Borgerding 8, B. Goodwin 8 ... Assist leaders: B. Goodwin 3 ... Steal leaders: B. Goodwin 3