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Boys basketball roundup: Wildcats advance in 6AA

Tribune photo by Tom Larson New London-Spicer’s Tyson Gislason powers the ball up against Paynesville’s Matthew Quade while Wildcats teammate Shane Zylstra boxes out the Bulldogs’ Jordon Roos during a Section 6AA-South semifinal game Saturday at St. John’s University in Collegeville. NLS prevailed 62-45.

COLLEGEVILLE — The New London-Spicer boys basketball team will play for the Section 6AA-South title for a second-straight year, but this time Litchfield won’t be lining up opposite the Wildcats.

NLS doubled-up Paynesville in the second half of Saturday’s first South subsection game and defeated their former West Central Conference rival 62-45 at St. John’s University.

But Litchfield, the two-time 6AA champion and Class AA state runner-up, couldn’t stick with hot-shooting Eden Valley-Watkins and fell to the Eagles 59-44 in Saturday’s second game at SJU.

NLS (17-10) and EVW (16-9) meet for the subsection title at 6 p.m. Tuesday at SJU’s Warner Palaestra.

The Wildcats struggled against the Bulldogs, falling behind 8-0 and they trailed by nine points eight minutes into the game.

But in five minutes, the Wildcats had the game tied and they trailed by just three points at halftime.

NLS outscored the Bulldogs 40-20 in the second half. A major factor in the win was a 48-33 rebounding advantage. They got back to what they learned during a tough Wright County Conference season, said NLS head coach Chad Schmiesing.

“We made shots,” he said. “In the first half, I thought we took some good shots but they weren’t falling. Against (Paynesville’s) zone, you have to rebound and make shots and that’s what you have to do in the Wright County Conference. There are no easy games and it wears you down a bit during the season because it’s really physical play, but it really prepares you for the end of the season. I told (the team) that even though they’re tough games and you’re going to take some losses, it will benefit you at the end of the year.”

Brett Olson led the Wildcats with 19 points and he had 4 rebounds and a pair of assists and steals. The Wildcats’ improved rebounding and defense sparked the offense, he said.

“We made some tough shots and when we rebounded we were able to get out in transition for easy points,” Olson said. “You really appreciate (the Wright County Conference). The tough competition really prepares you for games like this. It did last year and this year, too.”

Tyson Gislason played a strong game inside, hitting 6-of-9 shots and scoring 12 points, and he had four of his 11 rebounds on the offensive end.

“We started rebounding and turned stuff around and got points on the other end,” Gislason said.  “We settled down on defense and started to rebound, and that transitions into points.”

Shane Zylstra scored 8 points — four coming on impressive dunks — and had a team-high 13 boards. Ryan Vraa finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds.

Paynesville (11-14) had four players score in double figures, led by Matt Quade, Jordon Roos and Mitchell Weidner all scoring 11 points. Andrew Topp had 10 points. Quade also had 9 rebounds and Topp and Weidner both pulled down 6.

New London-Spicer 62, Paynesville 45

Paynesville (11-14)................25 20 —45

NL-Spicer (17-10)................22 40 — 62

PAYNESVILLE – 14-52 FG (5-20 3-pt); 12-19 FT; 33 rebounds; 15 fouls … Scoring: Andrew Topp 10, Mitchell Weidner 11, Spencer Syvertson 3, Jordon Roos 3, Matthew Quade 9, Brandon Schleper 1 … 3-point shots: Topp 1, Weidner 1, Roos 2, Quade 1 … Rebound leaders: Quade 9, Topp 6, Weidner 6 … Assist leaders: Syvertson 4, Topp 2 … Steal leaders: Roos 4, Topp 2

NEW LONDON-SPICER – 25-60 FG (5-24 3-pt); 7-15 FT; 48 rebounds; 18 fouls … Scoring: Ryan Vraa 10, Adam Essler 5, Shane Zylstra 8, Brett Olson 19, , Tyson Gislason 11, Jonny DeGeest 3, Ethan Bohlsen 5, Lucas Rogers 1 … 3-point shots: Vraa 2, Essler 1, Olson 2 … Rebound leaders: Zylstra 13, Gislason 11, Vraa 6, Ethan Bohlsen 5 … Assist leaders: Zylstra 4, Vraa 3, Essler 3, Gislason 2, DeGeest 2 … Steal leaders: Essler 3, Zylstra 3, Olson 2

Hot-shooting Eagles end Dragons’ run

Eden Valley-Watkins shot 54 percent in the first half of Saturday’s other semifinal, but the Eagles couldn’t shake Litchfield, which shot 50 percent and was within two points at 28-26 at the break.

But the Eagles shot even better in the second half – 59 percent — while the Dragons finally ran out of gas.

Dylan Kotzer led the Dragons (9-18) with 10 points, Cody Rau scored 9 and Josh Polingo and Cody Beavers both scored 7.

Litchfield shot just 27 percent overall and from the 3-point line in the second half. EVW’s Jared Streit cut through the Dragons’ gambling defense and threw down a two-handed dunk with just minutes left that put the Eagles up by 13 and the air went out of the Litch bench.

The loss ends Litchfield’s two-year run as 6AA champion. Both years, the Dragons advanced to the Class AA state championship game.

EVW 59, Litchfield 44

Litchfield (9-18)....................26 18 —44

EVW (16-9).............................28 31 —59

LITCHFIELD – 17-44 FG (7-23 3-pt); 3-5 FT; 19 rebounds; 18 fouls … Scoring: Eric Madsen 6, Cody Rau 9, Dylan Kotzer 10, Josh Polingo 7, Cody Beavers 7, Alex Hendricks 5 … 3-point shots: Rau 3, Kotzer 2, Polingo 1, Hendricks 1 … Rebound leaders: Madsen 4, Kotzer 4 … Assist leaders: Kotzer 4, Rau 2 … Steal leaders: Madsen 1, Rau 1, Beavers 1, Hendricks 1

EDEN VALLEY-WATKINS – 23-41 FG (6-15 3-pt); 7-14 FT; 30 rebounds; 9 fouls … Scoring: Reese Jansen 5, Nick Pauly 9, Bret Mattice 19, Alex Nesenson 6, Jared Streit 8, Jacob Streit 1, Travis Thielen 3 … 3-point shots: Jansen 1, Pauly 1, Mattice 2, Jacob Streit 2 … Rebound leaders: Jared Streit 8, Mattice 6 … Assist leaders: Jansen 6 … Steal leaders: Jansen 1, Mattice 1

BBE steams along in 5A

LITTLE FALLS – The BBE boys basketball team not only is rolling closer to another Class A state tournament berth, the Jaguars aren’t even making it look fair.

The top-ranked Jaguars crushed Swanville 95-39 on Saturday in Little Falls to move into the Section 5A-South championship game. BBE (26-1), the 2012 Class A champion and 2011 state runner-up, opened the playoffs with a 84-29 win over Royalton on Thursday.

“We’re rolling,” said BBE head coach Dave Montbriand. “We’re hitting on all cylinders. I hope we keep it going.”

On Saturday, Brian Goodwin scored 27 points and had 10 rebounds and 11 assists to complete the triple-double.

Trey Heinsius scored 17 points, Billy Borgerding had 16, Tanner Heinsius scored 15 and James Kuefler finished with 11.

The Jaguars play Kimball for the South crown at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Little Falls. BBE defeated Kimball (16-10), their Central Minnesota Conference rival, by 26 points on Jan. 17 and took down the Cubs by 54 points – yes, 54 points – in the regular-season finale on Feb. 22.

But the Cubs shouldn’t feel badly – few teams have fared much better against BBE since New Years.

The Jaguars last lost Dec. 28 to defending Class AAAA state champion Apple Valley. Since then, the Jags have won 19 straight by an average margin of 35 points per game. Their closest game was a 10-point win over Maple Lake on Jan. 9.

In 5A-North, Nevis (14-12) plays Browerville (20-5) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Wadena.

BBE hasn’t played Nevis this season. The Jaguars defeated Browerville 87-62 on Jan. 25, but the Tigers have won 10 of 11 games since that loss.

BBE 95, Swanville 39

BBE (26-1).............................52 43 —95

Swanville (14-11)..................20 19 —39

SWANVILLE – 15-45 FG (2-10 3-pt); 7-10 FT; 20 rebounds; 10 fouls … Scoring: Cody Mollner 2, Aaron Miller 2, Tyler Evans 9, Jordan Sales 17, Bennet Primus 3, Austin Johnson 6 … 3-point shots: Johnson 2 … Rebound leaders: Evans 4, Molenaar 6 … Assist leaders: Evans 3 … Steal leaders: None

BBE – 38-70 FG (10-28 3-pt); 9-11 FT; 40 rebounds; 11 fouls … Scoring: Tanner Heinsius 15, Trey Heinsius 17, Brian Goodwin 27, James Kuefler 11, Billy Borgerding 16, Nick Benton 6, Jacob Tensen 3 … 3-point shots: Trey Heinsius 4, Tanner Heinsius 2, Goodwin 2, Tensen 1, Borgerding 1 … Rebound leaders: Goodwin 10, Trey Heinsius 7, Benton 7 … Assist leaders: Goodwin 11, Tanner Heinsius 5, Trey Heinsius 4, Kuefler 4 … Steal leaders: Trey Heinsius 9, Borgerding 6

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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