SWC advances, beats SSC 74-67
WORTHINGTON -- Sparked by 14 second-half points from Tyler Mouw Thursday night, the Southwest Christian Eagles outscored Southwest Star Concept, 40-31, in the final 18 minutes to earn a 74-67 victory over the Quasars in the semifinals of the Section 3A South boys' basketball tournament.
Second-seeded SWC (18-7) advances to play Ellsworth in the Section 3A South title game Saturday in Marshall at 12 p.m. Third-seeded SSC finishes its season at 21-5.
"That was one great ballgame," SWC head coach Jamie Pap said following the game. "Both teams fought hard, and it's a shame one team had to lose. SSC has a great program and deserves a lot of credit."
Indeed it was a thriller, as SSC led for the majority of the game until SWC took a 63-62 advantage -- its third lead of the game -- with 4:25 left in the second half on a Alex Huisken bucket in the lane.
After Huisken (nine points, six rebounds) hit a free throw and missed the second one with 3:53 left, the Eagles hustled for the offensive rebound. Trent Ryswyk (13 points) followed by drilling a 3-pointer from the left corner, making it 67-62 with 3:40 to go.
SSC's James Granstra (24 points, 15 rebounds, five assists) hit a free throw 23 seconds later, but Ryan Pronk (eight assists, five rebounds, five points) found Mouw with a great dish after a backcut to make it 69-63 with 2:26 left.
"Ryan is our leader," Pap said. "He runs the show and makes sure everyone is under control out there. He played a great game."
SSC -- which outrebouned the Eagles, 40-31 -- later pulled to within four (70-66) with 1:02 left, as Granstra hit a hook shot in the lane.
A free throw from Cody Ferguson (11 points) with 38.7 seconds left was the final point for SSC, and the Eagles made 4-of-8 free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
The Quasars had several good looks late in the game, but couldn't convert. Turnovers at crucial times also hurt SSC down the stretch.
"Their quickness and depth kind of wore on us as the game progressed," SSC head coach Tim Owen said. "They got some easy transition baskets, as we had some turnovers and didn't get back a few times."
SSC started the game strong, as the inside duo of Granstra and Lloyd Kalfs paced the Quasars to a quick 9-2 lead four minutes in.
Kalfs scored off an assist each from Granstra and Trevor Leopold (16 points) in that run, while Granstra had a putback and two free throws. Ferguson hit a free throw for the other Quasar point.
"We did a very nice job of controlling the boards in the first half," Owen said. "We crashed the offensive glass, got to the free-throw line and made our free throws."
SWC came back with a 7-0 run to tie it at 9-all with 12:40 left, as Mike Vander Veen (eight points) hit a 3-pointer, Eric Schaap (eight points, seven rebounds) pulled up from the left elbow, and Pronk scored off a nice cut down the lane to spark the Eagles.
SSC -- which hit nine of its first 10 free throws and was 12-of-15 in the first half -- later built a 21-15 lead with 8:46 left, as Leopold drilled a pair of 3-pointers from the top of the key to fuel the Quasars.
Back-to-back hoops from Mouw (20 points) helped the Eagles pull within one (23-22) with 6:22 to go, but the Quasars went on an 8-1 burst to go up 31-23 with 3:20 left.
SWC came back to tie the game with 14 seconds left, as Karl Vander Lugt -- who had just drew a charge on Granstra -- knocked down a long 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 34-all.
Ben Scheevel gave the Quasars a 36-34 halftime lead with an incredible baseline shot as he was fouled and falling down. He missed the free throw, but the Quasars still had the edge.
Looking to build off Scheevel's play, the Quasars took a 44-38 lead with 15:09 remaining in the second half. Granstra, Kalfs, Ferguson and Leopold all scored for SSC in that stretch.
SWC came back to tie the game at 44-all with 13:32 left, as Mouw scored three straight baskets.
After the teams traded two buckets apiece to make it 48-all, the Eagles gained their first lead of the game (50-48) with 11:46 left on a baseline jumper from Mouw.
Things went back-and-forth for the next four minutes, with the teams exchanging points. SSC gained a 57-54 lead with 7:36 left after James Anderson hit a free throw and later scored a layup off a long outlet pass from Granstra.
The Eagles later took their 63-62 lead with 4:25 to go, setting up the final moments of an action-packed contest.
SSC 36 31 -- 67
SWC 34 40 -- 74
SSC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Anderson 0-1-1-3, Scheevel 0-2-2-6, Leopold 2-3-4-16, Timko 0-0-1-1, Ferguson 0-3-5-11, Kalfs 0-3-0-6, Granstra 0-9-6, 24. Totals: 2-21-19-67.
SWC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Pronk 0-2-1-5, Van't Hof 0-1-2-4, Ryswyk 2-3-1-13, Holm 0-0-2-2, Vander Veen 2-1-0-8, Huisken 0-4-1-9, Vander Lugt 1-0-2-5, Mouw 0-10-0-20, Schaap 0-3-2-8. Totals: 5-24-11-74.
In other area playoff action, Luverne defeated Martin County West, 53-49, in one Section 3AA South semifinal game, while Redwood Valley beat Pipestone Area 72-60.
Luverne will play Redwood Valley in the south final at 6 p.m. Saturday in Marshall.