MACCRAY boys advance to 3A final
MARSHALL -- The MACCRAY Wolverines have wedged their way back to the boys Section 3A championship, but they won't be facing five-time defending champion Ellsworth.
Instead, the Wolverines (25-3) will face upstart Hills-Beaver Creek (23-6), which ousted Ellsowrth in the 3A-South final earlier Saturday, 76-62.
The 3A-North title game followed form as MACCRAY whipped Camden Conference rival Dawson-Boyd 74-59 at Southwest Minnesota State.
The Blackjacks finished 19-6 with half of those losses coming against MACCRAY.
MACCRAY's Seth Hinrichs, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, scored 27 points and nabbed 17 rebounds.
Riley Aeikens and Brady Boike each added 15 points.
"The thing you've got to do is to shoot the ball better than we did from the perimeter," said Dawson-Boyd coach Cory Larson. "They knew that we usually shoot a good percentage outside and they didn't give us many good looks. They're a tough team to match up against."
The Blackjacks, a youthful team of six-footers, had to answer with sophomore guard Nathan Huot who finished with a game-high 28 points.
Joey Lee, a 6-1 freshman, was next with eight points.
Randy Bjerkeset, one of only two seniors on the D-B roster, remarked that the South final was a lot more exciting than a regular-season game.
"It's a big crowd and you're jittery at the start, but you settled down after the first possession," he said. "MACCRAY has a tall, athletic group and they shoot the ball well. They get after you defensively, just like we do."
The game was close early. Lee's drive and scoop layup tied the score 11-11 at 10:00. But the Wolverines scored the next 10 points, starting with a bang-bang pass and shoot finished off by Jamie Boonstra. Aeikens followed with four point and Hinrichs with four more before Huot broke the spell.
It was 28-19 at half but MACCRAY drained any drama from the clash with a 13-2 run starting the last 18 minutes.
"Our plan was to get out on their three-point shooters and box out," said Aeikens. "We came out slow against Ortonville (in the North semifinals) and we didn't want to do that against Dawson."
Huot and Jarrett Wager each hit two 3s but the Blackjacks were 5 of 19. Zach Stelter grabbed eight rebounds.
"I think we played well hitting some shots outside" said Boonstra. "It's nice to have the big nan (Hinrichs) down low. We're going to use him to our advantage."
MACCRAY is 1-5 in Section 3 finals, the first five in Class AA. Ellsworth topped the Wolverines 76-71 in last year's championship.
The final is set for 5 p.m. Thursday at SMSU.
MACCRAY 74, Dawson-Boyd 49
Dawson-Boyd (19-6) 19 30 -- 49
MACCRAY (25-3) 28 46 -- 74
DAWSON-BOYD - 19-55 FG (5-19 3-pt); 6-9 FT; 21 rebounds; 16 fouls ... Scoring: Randy Bjerkeset 5, Zach Stelter 2, Joey Lee 8, Nathaniel Huot 28, Jarrett Wager 6 ... 3-point shots: Bjerkeset 1, Huot 2, Ja. Wager 2 ... Rebound leaders: Stelter 8 ... Assist leaders: Huot 3, Jack Hansen 3 ... Steal leaders: Huot 3, Hansen 2
MACCRAY - 27-59 FG (5-18 3-pt); 15-19 FT; 40 rebounds; 13 fouls ... Scoring: Corey Abbas 4, Jamie Boonstra 2, Riley Aeikens 15, Jarrod Holmgren 2, Cody Boonstra 4, Brady Boike 15, Seth Hinrichs 27, Taylor Thissen 3, Bailey Boike 2 ... 3-point shots: Aeikens 2, C. Boonstra 1, Hinrichs 1, Thissen 1 ... Rebound leaders: Aeikens 7, Brady Boike 9, Hinrichs 17 ... Assist leaders: Abbas 4, Aeikens 9, Hinrichs 4 ... Steal leaders: Hinrichs 4, Thissen 3 ... Blocked shots: Hinrichs 2