MARSHALL-Minnewaska has perfected the art of the comeback.
For the third time in as many games, the Lakers completed a second half comeback to stay alive in the playoffs. Thursday's version just happened to have a bit more on the line.
Minnewaska is heading to the Class AA state tournament with a 56-54 victory over Pipestone for the Section 3AA title Thursday night at Southwest Minnesota State University after trailing nearly the entire game.
It's Minnewaska's first trip to the state title since 2001 and their third as Minnewaska High School. Glenwood High School also made state appearances in 1956 and 1985.
Shawn Carsten tied the game at 49 with about three minutes to play and Garrett Jensen helped the Lakers take their first lead since a 9-8 margin early in the first half with a pair of made free throws at the 2:09 mark in the second half. Matt Gruber and Jackson Johnsrud helped extend their lead to 55-51 with a pair of and-ones and all but clinch a state appearance with 19.6 points to go.
The Lakers followed suit after come-from-behind victories against Morris/Chokio-Alberta and New London-Spicer, the latter of which put the Lakers in the section final game. Prior to Thursday's win, the Lakers led for fewer than 10 minutes throughout the playoffs.
Jackson Johnsrud helped carry the Lakers in the first half with 14 points.
Pipestone (19-11) 29 25 - 54
Minnewaska (21-7) 25 31 - 56
PIPESTONE - Stats not provided
MINNEWASKA - Scoring: Jackson Johnsrud 25, Grant Jensen 4, Luke Barkeim 4, Matt Gruber 10, Garrett Jensen 6, Shawn Carsten 7 ... 3-point shots: Johnsrud 3, Grant Jensen 1, Gruber 2 ... Rebound leader: Gruber 7, Garrett Jensen 8, Johnsrud 5 ... Assist leader: Gruber 5, Garrett Jensen 4 ... Steal leader: Grant Jensen 2, Gruber 2