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Boys Basketball: Blackjacks' run ends in 3A final

Dawson-Boyd's Evan Robertson (20) battles with Southwest Minnesota Christian's Zach Huisken (45) during the second half of the Section 3A title game on Thursday in Marshall. The Blackjacks' Joey Lee (10) looks on. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton.

By Rand Middleton

MARSHALL -- It's been 10 years since the proud Eagles of Edgerton soared out of Section 3A and landed in the state tourney.

That year, 2002, Southwest Minnesota Christian won its fourth consecutive state title.

Thursday night in front of 3,200 fans at the college in Marshall, the Eagles played like they're finally ready to win another.

Making an incredible 26 of 29 shots from inside the arc the Eagles brushed aside Dawson-Boyd 73-55 in the 3A final.

The Eagles busted out to a 10-0 lead and kept the Blackjacks at an arm's length the rest of the evening.

"They play like that they're going to be a hard team to beat at state," said Dawson-Boyd coach Cory Larson.

It was the 20th straight win for the Eagles (26-1). The Blackjacks end their spectacular season 26-3 after their 18-game winning streak ended.

The Eagles, a tall team, displayed a lot of quickness and they shot well.

"Every time we pushed them a little, they pushed right back," said Blackjacks' senior Jack Hansen.

Dawson-Boyd shooters made 7 of 23 from the arc and the Eagles 6 of 19 to supplement their lethal game around the rim.

"We defended their top two kids well enough but everyone else was on fire," said Larson. "They pressure our perimeter so hard and that's what makes our team go. We had some shots inside but not once did we get to the rim tonight."

The Blackjacks had to contend with 6-foot-9 Zach Huiskens, a sturdy post player with smooth moves. He ended up with 18 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists.

Four other Eagles scored between 10 and 13 points.

"They beat us off the dribble," said senior forward Zach Stelter. "We weren't moving our feet. When you got beat someone would have to slide over and help and then they'd slip the ball to the open guy for an easy basket."

Added Stelter: "They played great defense all game and we weren't making shots. Hats off to them."

The Jacks sank 21 of 56 shots from the floor. Nathaniel Huot, a junior point guard, did all he could early to get his team back in the game. He scored 10 of Dawson-Boyd's first 15 points and would end up with a game-high 19.

Hansen followed the first 12 points and Joey Lee with 11. Evan Robinson, who gave up five inches in height defending Huiskens, got 6 points and 6 rebounds (The Blackjacks were outrebounded 32-18).

Hansen said it was just a tough night against a "great team."

"We just never got comfortable or into a rhythm," said Hanson, one of three senior starters.

Dawson-Boyd was making its fourth appearance in the 3A title game, the most recently a 56-51 loss to Ellsworth in 2008. As Dawson High in 1949, the Blackjacks beat Brownton 80-32 to gain the state tournament.

Both teams came into Thursday's showdown with long win streaks, 19 for the Edgerton club and 18 for Dawson-Boyd. Southwest's only loss was to Worthington, by one point. The Trojans clobbered Redwood Valley in last night's early game to gain state.

The Class A tourney starts Thursday at Williams Arena; the top four teams are seeded followed by a random draw.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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