PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Ball control key for SWC at state
MINNEAPOLIS -- Last year, the Southwest Christian Eagles made it all the way to the Class A Boys Basketball State Tournament championship game before falling to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa by nine points to finish second.
This year, the Eagles look to get over the hump and take home a state title. But first they will have to get past the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Wolves, who are making their first trip to boys state tournament.
"[The Wolves] had a great year this year," SWC coach Jamie Pap said. "Their leader is 6-foot-3 junior Chris Duff. He averages 21 points a game for them. So we will have to stop him on defense if we want to come out with a win."
Aside from Duff, W-H-A can score points in the paint as well as from the outside.
"They also have a big presence in the middle," Pap said. "Anthony Fisher is a 6-foot-5 senior center who averages 17 points and 12 rebounds a game. So he can be a game changer for them. Point guard Caleb Ginos also does a really good job for them."
The Eagles come into the state tournament on a 23-game win streak and will look to extend that streak against the Wolves.
"They keys for us will be taking care of the ball and controlling the boards on both ends," Pap said. "If we are going to win, we have to play our game. So, we need to be able to run the floor and get some transition baskets as well."
Walker-Hackensack-Akeley is also coming in on a big win streak (16 games) and won all of its section games by double-digits.
An advantage Southwest Christian has is the fact that it can go to anyone on its bench for offense and still get solid defensive play on their end of the court as well.
"We are a very balanced team and we have a lot of different players who can lead us in scoring and rebounding," Pap said. "So, if they double anyone of my guys, we can still find a guy who is open and hit the shot."
The Eagles and the Wolves meet today at 5 p.m. at Williams Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The victor of this game moves on to face the winner between Upsala and Battle Lake Friday at 2 p.m. Friday at the Target Center.