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Boys basketball: ACGC makes 1st trip to state

Drew Claussen / Albert Lea Tribune ACGC’s David Kinzler, left, and Gabriel Eisenbacher defend against United South Central in the Section 2A championship on Friday in Mankato.

MANKATO — Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City is going to the state basketball tournament for the first time.

The Falcons beat Section 2A-South champion United South Central 69-61 on Friday at Minnesota State-Mankato.

The win ended the 13-game winning streak of the Rebels, who upset Mountain Lake Area in the semifinals on Tuesday.  

ACGC took an eight-point lead with 1:43 remaining, but USC cut it to three on a 3-pointer and a Brett Pederson layup at 1:19.

USC then fouled Falcons’ guard Brody Larson, who made two free throws to put the Falcons up five, and Colton Minnick sank three of four free throws after two more fouls.

Minnick’s final free throw ended up in the hands of Pederson, who missed a 3-pointer as time expired, and the Falcons were on their way to the state tournament.

“It was a great experience,” Falcons’ head coach Terry Miller said. The kids have worked all season. We stuck together and followed the game plan. More than anything, hopefully, get some recognition. We’ve won 16 or more games the past three years and done a lot of good things as a program.”

Taylor Larson led the Falcons with 21 points, with Minnick following with 18 and Brody Larson with 11.

Minnick nabbed 10 rebounds and 3 assists, and Brody Larson had 9 rebounds and 2 steals.

Freshman Gabriel Eisenbacher added 10 boards and 3 steals to go with his 6 points. 

It wasn’t smooth sailing the entire game, though, as ACGC trailed by three at halftime with Taylor Larson playing with two fouls.

As the second half started, the Falcons switched to a 1-3-1 zone to avoid more foul trouble, which proved to be key.

“We rode the 1-3-1 as long as we could,” Miller said. “Then we just started moving and plugging the middle a bit. They were missing shots and we did a better job of rebounding.”

Seeding for the state tournament will be decided Saturday morning, and the first round games will be played Thursday at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

ACGC 69, USC 61

USC (23-5)           34 27 — 61

ACGC (21-7)        31 38 — 69

UNITED SOUTH CENTRAL – 21-65 FG (5-18 3-pt); 17-19 FT; 33 rebounds; 19 fouls … Scoring: n/a … 3-point shots: n/a … Rebound leaders: n/a … Assist leaders: n/a … Steal leaders: n/a

ATWATER-COSMOS-GROVE CITY – 20-52 FG (5-18 3-pt); 22-31 FT; 38 rebounds; 14 fouls … Scoring: Brody Larson 11, Taylor Larson 21, David Kinzler 9, Adam Johnson 4, Gabriel Eisenbacher 6, Colton Minnick 18 … 3-point shots: B. Larson 1, T. Larson 3, Kinzler 1 … Rebound leaders: Eisenbacher 10, Minnick 10, B. Larson 9 … Assist leaders: Minnick 3 … Steal leaders: Eisenbacher 3, B. Larson 2, T. Larson 2

Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster covers the Willmar Stingers and other area sports, as well as laying out the daily sports section cover for the West Central Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @benbrewster.

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