LITCHFIELD — Outside a two-minute stretch midway through the first half, Litchfield largely controlled the action on the field during its season opener.

The Dragons were carried by an efficient effort on the offensive end, shooting 62 percent from the field en route to a 66-40 victory over Maple Lake on Thursday from Litchfield High School.

Never trailing in the contest, the hosts made 28 of their 45 field goals, including an impressive 22-for-27 mark (81 percent) from inside of the arc.

Junior guard set the pace for Litchfield, as Avery Liestman led all scores with 16 points on 7 of 12 shooting. Making six of his nine shots from the field, Tyson Michels had 14 points, along with team-highs of five assists, five rebounds, four blocks and two blocks.

Litchfield jumped out to a 10-2 advantage before being marred by turnovers on three straight possessions. Maple Lake junior guard Aidna Staloch collected a steal near mid-court and capped an 8-0 surge with a breakaway layup, tying the game at 10-10.

After the game went back and forth for a few moments, the Dragons showed excellent patience in their half-court offense, stringing together multiple passes from baseline and the perimeter before finding a cutter inside or a driving lane into the paint.

Holding an 18-16 lead, Litchfield pulled away with a 13-1 run. Towards the end of their surge, the team began adding to the pressurized full-court defense by imploring traps following a made basket or when the ball went out of bounds.

Litchfield senior guard Tanner Ziegenhagen (10) and junior guard Tyson Michels (4) look to trap Maple Lake senior guard Aiden Staloch in the backcourt during Thursday's game from Litchfield High School. 

Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune
Litchfield senior guard Tanner Ziegenhagen (10) and junior guard Tyson Michels (4) look to trap Maple Lake senior guard Aiden Staloch in the backcourt during Thursday's game from Litchfield High School. Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune

Scoring on a drive to the cup, Liestman trapped the ball-handler, forced the turnover before scoring inside. Forcing a miss on the ensuing defensive possession, Michels pushed the cushion to 31-17 with another make in the paint late in the first half.

The Dragons entered the halftime break on top 33-20 and doubled their lead by the end of the contest, limiting the Irish to 29 percent shooting overall. Maple Lake struggled to contend with Litchfield’s length, opting for 10 more three-point attempts (24) than shots inside the paint (14). However, the visitors only knocked four from long distance.

Senior guard Jackson Berscheid led the road team with 10 points.

Twelve players entered the scorebook for Litchfield, which will next hit the road to face Breck at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Litchfield 66,

Maple Lake 40

Maple Lake (1-1) 20 20 — 40
Litchfield (1-0) 33 33 — 66
MAPLE LAKE - Scoring: Ryley Hagen 9, Brock Goelz 2, Aiden Staloch 8, Jackson Berscheid 10, Brayden Belanger 2, Brandon Schmitz 5, Ben Clapp 4 … 3-point shots: Hagen 3, Clapp 1 … Rebound leader: Belanger 6 … Assist leader: Staloch 3 … Steal leader: Staloch 3, Belanger 3 ... Block leader: None
LITCHFIELD - Scoring: Ben Alsleben 2, Bret Wendlandt 2, Tyson Michels 14, Avery Liestman 16, Tanner Ziegenhagen 2, Logan Graphenteen 6, Drew Kotzer 8, Ben Nelson 8, Beau Weseloh 3, Tanner Kohls 1, Conrad Yungk 2, Christian Kelsey 2 … 3-point shots: Liestman 2, Graphenteen 1, Kotzer 2, Weseloh 1 … Rebound leader: Michels 5 … Assist leader: Michels 5, Kotzer 4 … Steal leader: Michels 2 ... Block leader: Michels 4

Non-Conference

NLS 62,

Paynesville 61

New London-Spicer defeats Paynesville on the road. A late three and two free throws for the Wildcats had them take a three point lead in the closing seconds. A putback at the buzzer off a missed tying three-point attempt cut the deficit to one.

Paynesville’s next game is 7:15 p.m. Monday at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.

NLS’s next game is 7:15 p.m. Friday at Albany.

NLS (2-0) 33 29 — 62
Paynesville (0-2) 29 32 — 61
NEW LONDON-SPICER - Scoring: Christian Lessman 8, Jack Novak 4, Peyton Coahran 17, Wolzen Holland 4, Mason Tautges 11, Nick Hubbard 10 … 3-point shots: N/A … Rebound leader: Lessman 7 … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: N/A
PAYNESVILLE - Scoring: Caden Spanier 11, Levi Bast 12, Kadin Ludwig 3, Corbin Froelich 16, Brendan Uhlenkamp 19 … 3-point shots: N/A … Rebound leaders: Uhlenkamp 12, Froelich 9 … Assist leader: Spanier 4 … Steal leader: Froelich 5 ... Block leader: N/A



Redwood Valley 81,

ACGC 73

Leading by six at halftime, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City were on the wrong end of a 14-point turnaround, falling on the road to Redwood Valley.

The hosts outscored the Falcons by a 27-12 margin from three-point territory. Zack Reck-Paulsen was the leading marksman for the Cardinals with four makes en route to 15 points. Right behind was Alex Lang, who knocked down three 3-pointers as part of a 24-point performance to lead all players.

Four players reached double-figure points for ACGC, topped by Josh Kinzler with 23 points. Shelby Shoen added 16 points while Steven Lawver and Dawson Miller each had 12. Miller added nine rebounds, Lawver chipped in eight assists and Kinzler and Lawver produced four steals apiece.

The Falcons will have 24 hours to get back to their winning ways when they travel to face Montevideo at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

ACGC (1-1) 43 30 — 73
Redwood Valley (2-0) 37 44 — 81
ATWATER-COSMOS-GROVE CITY - Scoring: Josh Kinzler 23, Shelby Shoen 16, Ethan Lilleberg 6, Steven Lawver 12, Dawson Miller 12, Ethan Melberg 4 … 3-point shots: Lawver 2, Shoen 1, Miller 1 … Rebound leader: Miller 9 … Assist leader: Lawver 8 … Steal leader: Kinzler 4, Lawver 4 ... Block leader: N/A
REDWOOD VALLEY - Scoring: Bryant Haas 11, Connor Josephson 4, Alex Lang 24, Drew Lundeen 6, Carson Woodford 14, Carter Guetter 7, Zack Reck-Paulsen 15 … 3-point shots: Reck-Paulsen 4, Lang 3, Lundeen 2 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: N/A



Osakis 67, BBE 45

Daniel Savageau and his 30 points spoiled Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s season opener as the Silverstreaks won the non-conference matchup 67-45.

Savageau, who also had seven rebounds and three steals, was 6 of 10 from 3-point range.

Kaden Pieper had a team-high 13 points for the Jaguars, followed by 12 from Jackson Peter.

BBE will try to rebound Monday in its Central Minnesota Conference opener against Paynesville.

BBE (0-1) 25 20 — 45
Osakis (2-0) 38 29 — 67
BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA - Scoring: Kaden Pieper 13, Jackson Peter 12, Will VanBeck 3, Peyton Winter 3, Gannon Walsh 3, Tanner Shelton 5, Ryan Schwinghammer 6 … 3-point shots: Pieper 3, Peter 2, VanBeck 1, Winter 1, Walsh 1, Shelton 1 … Rebound leader: Evan Jones 4 … Assist leader: VanBeck 3 … Steal leader: VanBeck 2 ... Block leader: Jones 1
OSAKIS - Scoring: Kellen Anderson 3, Kobie Lara 7, Carter Grove 2, Luke Staloch 7, Bauer Klimek 9, Tyson Lien 3, Daniel Savageau 30, Brady Mages 6 … 3-point shots: Klimek 1, Lien 1, Savageau 6 … Rebound leader: Staloch 8, Savageau 7 … Assist leader: Staloch 2 … Steal leader: Savageau 3 ... Block leader: Anderson 2



West Central

Benson 77,

Sauk Centre 69

Behind 32 points, six rebounds and four steals from Ben Peterson, Benson kicked off their season with an eight-point home win over Sauk Centre.

Peterson used the three-point shot as his primary weapon, nailing six from beyond the arc.

Cole Hedman chipped in 16 points while Will Enderson and Abe Peterson had 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Braves. Enderson also had team-highs with nine rebounds and four assists.

For Sauk Centre,, Logan Suelflow led all scorers with 33 points.

Benson will return home for its next game against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Sauk Centre (1-1) 32 37 — 69
Benson (1-0) 39 38 — 77
SAUK CENTRE - Scoring: Riley Gritz 2, Logan Suelflow 33, Jay Neubert 4, Mathew Warring 8, Macoy Thiesen 6, Isaiah Hornick 3, Jacob Jennissen 13 … 3-point shots: Suelflow 4, Warring 1, Theisen 2, Hornick 1 … Rebound leader: Jennissen 9, Hornick 8 … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: N/A
BENSON - Scoring: Abe Peterson 11, Sam Lenarz 6, Cole Hedman 16, Ben Peterson 32, Will Enderson 12 … 3-point shots: Lenarz 2, Hedman 4, B. Peterson 6, Enderson 3 … Rebound leader: Enderson 9, B. Peterson 6… Assist leader: Enderson 4 … Steal leader: B. Peterson 4 ... Block leader: None

Minnewaska 57,

Morris/CA 43



Sitting with a 15-point advantage entering the halftime break, the Lakers maintained their lead to capture their first road victory of the season against Morris/Chokio-Alberta.

Pouring in 22 points, Lakers senior guard Grant Jensen game’s top scorer, while teammates Aaron Ver Steeg and Peyton Johnsrud added 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Jackson Loge had 13 points to pace the Tigers, who will look to rebound at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Minnewaska will be back on the floor sooner, as the team will host Redwood Valley at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Minnewaska (2-0) 35 22 — 57
Morris/CA (0-1) 20 23 — 43
MINNEWASKA - Scoring: Peyton Johnsrud 11, Grant Jensen 22, Drew Nelson 3, Aaron Ver Steeg 12, Luke Barkeim 3, Brady Hoffman 6 … 3-point shots: Nelson 1, Ver Steeg 1, Barkeim 1 … Rebound leader: Sam Hested 6, Ver Steeg 6 … Assist leader: P. Johnsrud 2, Jensen 2 … Steal leader: Hested 2, Barkeim 2 ... Block leader: Hoffman 3

MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA - Scoring: Durgin Decker 6, Brandon Jergenson 5, Riley Reimers 2, Jackson Loge 13, Cameron Koebernick 5, Toby Gonnerman 5, Cade Fehr 4 … 3-point shots: Decker 1, Jergenson 1, Koebernick 1 … Rebound leader: Loge 9 … Assist leader: Jaden Maanum 2, Jergenson 2, Gonnerman 2 … Steal leader: Jergenson 1, Gonnerman 1 ... Block leader: Loge 3