PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Eagles outlast Blackjacks
MARSHALL -- Southwest Christian is back in the MSHSL Class A Boys Basketball State Tournament for the second straight year.
The Eagles (27-1), who were the runners-up in Class A last season, defeated the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks 57-48 to defend their Section 3 Tournament title Thursday at Southwest Minnesota State Uninersity's R/A Facility.
"It's unbelievable to be going to back-to-back state tournaments," SWC head coach Jamie Pap said. "There are a lot of coaches and teams that don't get the chance to go once, but we are very blessed to go twice in a row."
Eric Talsma lifted the Eagles with a double-double effort of 14 rebounds and 11 points. He was one of four double digit scorers for SWC, including Leighton Sampson (16), Nate Pfeifle (12) and Klint Knutson (10).
Joey Lee led the Blackjacks (22-6) with 15 points, while Michael Lee had a double double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. Nathaniel Huot added 11 points for Dawson-Boyd, which made only 32 percent (17 of 52) of hits shots from the field.
Both teams struggled to shoot through a first half that ended with the Eagles leading 24-21 at halftime. Pfiefle said Pap made some defensive chances at the break that helped Southwest Christian extend its lead during the final 18 minutes.
"We hit our shots during the second half," Pfiefle said. "We know that any guy can guard any guy for us. We wanted to give Dawson-Boyd a different (defensive) look, so that any of their guys gets used to being defended by us."
The trio of Joey Lee, Huot and Michael Lee combined to shoot 14 of 45 (31 percent) from the field.
"We wanted to keep fresh legs on (Dawson-Boyd's) big three," said SWC guard Dominic Nibbelink. "Throughout the game, we kept mixing up who was guarding who in trying to contain those three."
The Eagles knocked down 58 percent (11 of 19) of their second-half field goal after shooting 23 percent (9 pf 39) from the field during the first half.
SWC led by 11 points twice in the second half. Knutson's only field goal of the game was a 3-pointer that handed the Eagles a 38-27 edge with 14:20 left. Then, with 5:48 remaining, Sampson went coast-to-coast for a layup as Southwest Christian went ahead 47-36.
But the Blackjacks had one final surge left. Kyler Collins made the second of two free-throw attempts before Joey Lee turned a pair of steals into transition layups on two straight Eagles' possessions as D-B cut its deficit to 49-41 with 4:45 left.
Talsma countered with a putback for Southwest Christian, which made six of its final 10 free-throw attempts in sealing the victory.
Clayton Huisken came off the SWC bench to score six points, including a left-corner 3-pointer with 5:11 left in the first half. The shot handed the Eagles a 17-16 lead, an advantage Southwest Christian did not give up the rest of the game.
"Clayton was one of the biggest difference-makers in this game," Nibbelink said. "He hit that 3, made some nice passes and added some free throws when we were struggling in the first half."
SWC has had Dawson-Boyd's number in recent games. The Eagles have won their last three meetings against the Blackjacks, including a 72-51 decision at home Dec. 8, 2012, and a 73-55 victory at Marshall on March 15, 2012, which clinched Southwest Christian's state tournament berth a year ago.
On Saturday, the Eagles will learn the name of their state tournament quarterfinal opponent after the eight-team field is seeded.
Daily Globe Sports Editor Jeff Arenz
may be reached at 376-7328.
MSHSL CLASS A BOYS BASKETBALL
SECTION 3 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP
SOUTHWEST CHRISTIAN 57,
DAWSON-BOYD (22-6): Huot 3-15 3-3 11, Hansen 1-1 0-0 2, Stelter 0-3 0-0 0, J. Lee 6-16 3-4 15, Collins 2-3 1-2 6, M. Lee 5-14 3-5 14. Totals: 17-52 (32%) 10-14 (71%) 48.
SOUTHWEST CHRISTIAN (27-1): Huisken 1-3 3-4 6, Pfeifle 5-10 0-0 12, Knutson 1-11 7-8 10, Schelhaas 0-1 0-0 0, Nibbelink 1-7 0-2 2, Vander Veen 0-3 0-0 0, Talsma 5-9 1-2 11, Sampson 7-14 2-5 16. Totals: 20-58 (34%) 13-21 (62%) 57.
Dawson-Boyd 21 27 -- 48
Southwest Christian 24 33 -- 57
3-Point Goals: Dawson-Boyd 4-22 (Huot 2-10, Collins 1-1, M. Lee 1-5, Stelter 0-2, J. Lee 0-4); Southwest Christian 4-21 (Pfeifle 2-5, Huisken 1-3, Knutson 1-7, Vander Veen 0-1, Nibbelink 0-5). Rebounds: Dawson-Boyd 31 (M. Lee 12, Huot 7); Southwest Christian 40 (Talsma 14, Pfeifle 8). Total Fouls (Fouled Out): Dawson-Boyd 14 (none); Southwest Christian 12 (none). Technical Fouls: None. Assists: Dawson-Boyd 10 (J. Lee 4); Southwest Christian 16 (Knutson 7, Talsma 4). Steals: Dawson-Boyd 7 (J. Lee 4); Southwest Christian 7 (Pfeifle 3). Blocked Shots: Dawson-Boyd 2 (J. Lee, M. Lee); Southwest Christian 1 (Pfeifle). Turnovers: Dawson-Boyd 18, Southwest Christian 9.