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Jeff Jerve of Montevideo, center, saves the ball from going out of bounds in the first half of the Section 3AA championship against Windom Thursday at Marshall. (Tribune photo by T.J. Bartelt)

Montevideo state bound

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MARSHALL -- Everyone contributes to a championship.

Montevideo made it happen for the second straight year with a total team effort, beating Windom Area 64-50 for the Section 3AA boys basketball title Thursday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

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The Thunder Hawks (21-7) will play either the Section 5AA winner between Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted or Norwood Young America at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Class AA Tournament quarterfinals at Williams Arena.

Seven players scored for Montevideo, and just like in the Thunder Hawks' win Saturday over MACCRAY, it took big shots at the right times.

In the first half, Montevideo bolted to a 9-2 lead thanks to four points from senior Jeff Jerve, two from senior Eric Brandon and three from freshman Brett Bergeson. Windom fought back with its own mix of seniors, sophomores and freshmen, getting as close as five points twice.

But Bergeson hit a three to stave off the first run and Jerve and sophomore Ryan Boike combined for five points in the last 50 seconds to give the Thunder Hawks a 36-26 halftime lead. Boike's three-pointer, his fourth, came with one second left in the half.

"We knew they were a young team," said Brandon, who had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. "So we came out firing. We hit some three pointers. Jerve played big and we made shots when we had to."

Freshman Jake Douglas had a hand in squashing a Windom run in the second half. His jumper from near the free-throw line broke a 43-43 tie.

But it was Boike, who made two straight treys to get Montevideo into the section championship, that would seal the deal. He nailed his only three of the second half with 5:28 left to give the Thunder Hawks a 54-48 lead.

Also like in the win over MACCRAY, Montevideo struggled at first to make free throws to put the game away, missing the first three of a total of 11 in the last 2:42.

"When they counted, we made the free throws to finish it off. It's been a total team effort all year long," said Dan Douglas, Montevideo's first-year coach.

The Thunder Hawks scored the last eight points for the win.

After the game, they inevitable comparisons to last year's Montevideo team, which won the same title, came up.

"It's a lot different," said Douglas, who was an assistant on that team that boasted at least three 3-year varsity players on it. "Last year's team had a lot of pressure on it. That's a lot more difficult. People ask me all the time about the difference between the two teams. We had a real good place to start with the two seniors. Inside, Jeff is as good as there is in the post and Eric can get the basketball to anybody."

Brandon, who also had six assists, said the comparisons gave the players motivation.

"No one thought we could do it," he said. "We just kept that chip on our shoulder and rode through the rest of playoffs. We got hot at the right time of the year."

Boike finished with a team-high 19 points and five blocked shots. Jerve added 14 points and nine rebounds.

For Windom, freshman Lee Holt led the way with 15 points and six boards. Sophomore Travis Mattson added 14 points and classmate Spenser Kipfer had 10 points.

Montevideo 64, Windom 50

Montevideo (21-7) 36 28 -- 64

Windom (17-11) 26 24 -- 50

MONTEVIDEO - 23-47 FG (8-14 3-pt); 10-13 FT; 34 rebounds; 11 fouls ... Scoring: Eric Brandon 13, Troy Hendrickson 2, Ryan Boike 19, Brock Ackerman 2, Brett Bergeson 6, Jeff Jerve 14, Jake Douglas 8 ... 3-point shots: Boike 5, Bergeson 2, Brandon 1 ... Rebound leaders: Brandon 11, Jerve 9 ... Assist leader: Brandon 6 ... Steal leader: Brandon 2 ... Blocks: Boike 5

WINDOM - 18-47 FG (4-11 3-pt); 10-16 FT; 20 rebounds; 14 fouls ... Scoring: Ryan Gilbertson 2, Spenser Kipfer 10, Lee Holt 15, Levi Gotto 6, Travis Mattson 14, Jake Holt 3 ... 3-point shots: Mattson 2, Gotto 1, Kipfer 1 ... Rebound leaders: J.Holt 7, L.Holt 6 ... Assist leaders: Gilbertson 2, Kipfer 2, Joel Riordan 2 ... Steal leader: J.Holt 3

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