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Boys Basketball: Defending state champ BBE upset in 6A playoffs

BBE's James Kuefler rises up to block a layup attempt by Wheaton/Herman-Norcross' Gabe Pralle in the second half of a Section 6A South Sub-Section semifinal game Saturday at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Kuefler's block preserved a seven-point BBE lead but the Jaguars soon lost the lead and the game, 66-59, to the Warriors. Tribune photo by Tom Larson.

MORRIS -- Wheaton/Herman-Norcross scored 27 point in the final eight minutes of the game and knocked defending Class A state champion Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa out of the playoffs, 66-59, on Saturday in the Section 6A South Sub-Section semifinals at the University of Minnesota Morris.

BBE, which struggled throughout the game, had a seven-point lead, 46-39, with 7:25 to play. But the Warriors outscored the Jaguars 11-2 during a key two-minute stretch in the second half to take a 52-48 lead. BBE never closed the gap.

The Jaguars entered the game 90-2 over the last three seasons and were 33-0 when they won the state championship last year. WHN is 17-8 and plays Battle Lake for the South championship on Tuesday at UMM.

In other boys playoff basketball action Saturday:

Willmar fell to Waconia 67-42 on Saturday in the Section 2AAA semifinals at Minnesota State-Mankato. The Cardinals finished the season 13-14, while Waconia (23-5) plays Marshall (26-2) for the section championship Thursday at MSU-Mankato. Marshall has won 15 straight games since losing by 11 points at Willmar on Jan. 15.

Dawson-Boyd (22-5) held MACCRAY to 10 first-half points and defeated the Wolverines 61-37 in the Section 3A North final Saturday at Southwest Minnesota State. The Blackjacks play Southwest Minnesota Christian on Thursday in Marshall.

Dawson-Boyd lost to SWMC in last season's 3A championship game. The Eagles, the 2012 Class A runners-up, are 26-1 after Saturday's 77-58 win over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton in the North final in Marshall.

Litchfield (22-5) had no trouble advancing to the Section 6AA South Sub-Section with a 52-21 win over Eden Valley-Watkins (12-14) in the sub-section semifinals Saturday at St. John's University.

The Dragons will play Wednesday at SJU against the winner of the New London-Spicer-Morris/Chokio-Alberta South semifinal. The Wildcats (13-14) and MCA (19-7) will play at 7 p.m. Monday at SJU. Their Saturday game was postponed because of poor driving conditions in the Morris area.

The 6AA South champ will play either Albany or Class AA's top-ranked team, Melrose, for a spot in the state tournament on Friday at St. Cloud State University. Litchfield's 65-59 overtime win on Dec. 21 is the only blemish on Melrose's record and the 28-1 Dutchmen have won 24 straight games since that loss.

Tom Larson

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

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