MORRIS -- It was the 'best defense' Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa had faced this season.
Hillcrest Lutheran Academy put the clamps on the Jaguars' gunners and tipped BBE 54-50 for the Section 6A-South boys basketball title Tuesday at the University of Minnesota-Morris.
"(HLA) did a great job of getting back on defense. There were only a couple of times where we really had numbers," said BBE coach Dave Montbriand. "That's the best defense we've played against this year. They had a relentless man-to-man defense. They challenged every pass."
The Comets didn't slow the game down, but they put enough speed bumps in to keep the Jaguars from hitting cruise control.
"We felt it was the only way we were going to be able to stay in the game. They have great shooters," said HLA coach Gregg Peterson. "It was our only shot to see if we could control the tempo."
BBE's largest lead of the first half was six points, thanks to a 10-4 run. But HLA (22-2) answered with a 7-0 run, including a three-pointer from Daniel Tungseth, to retake the lead. The Jaguars would hold a four-point lead right before halftime, but the Comets made a 5-0 run to again take the lead. Kevin Kuefler made a basket 11 seconds before the buzzer and BBE (25-4) held a 26-25 halftime lead.
It wouldn't last long into the second half. Tungseth would score eight straight points to give the Comets a 37-30 lead.
The Jaguars wouldn't give up, though they struggled from the field, especially in the latter part of the second half. BBE got within two points twice in the last 4:14.
Defensively, the Jaguars stuck with a 2-3 zone throughout the game, and kept HLA from cutting to the basket.
"They had a lot of good slashers and we felt we could take that away," Montbriand said. "We usually don't play zone, but we have played it at times."
Kuefler paced BBE with 27 points and nine rebounds. Matt Goodwin followed with seven assists.
Tungseth scored 16 points for HLA, followed by Devon Apgar with 15.
HL Academy 54, BBE 50
HLA (22-2) 25 29 -- 54
BBE (25-4) 26 24 -- 50
HILLCREST LUTHERAN ACADEMY - 17-37 FG (4-17 3-pt); 15-30 FT; 28 rebounds; 19 fouls ... Scoring: Devon Apgar 15, Andrew Hohncke 9, Taylor Isaac 5, Ethan Wentzel 2, Daniel Tungseth 16, Andy Stender 5, Jeff Schmidt 2 ... 3-point shots: Hohncke 1, Tungseth 2, Stender 1 ... Rebound leaders: Hohncke 5 ... Assist leaders: not available ... Steal leaders: not available
BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA - 17-49 FG (1-12 3-pt); 15-21 FT; 28 rebounds; 22 fouls ... Scoring: Bennett Weller 5, Kevin Kuefler 27, Matt Goodwin 4, Brandon DeKok 2, Brady Koehler 2, Kirby Montbriand 4, Connor Goodwin 6 ... 3-point shots: Weller 1 ... Rebound leaders: Kuefler 9 ... Assist leaders: M. Goodwin 7 ... Steal leaders: M. Goodwin 3 ... Blocks: C. Goodwin 3