PREP BOYS' BASKETBALL: Wolverines looking to make historyMOUNTAIN LAKE — Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin’s boys’ basketball team is in unfamiliar territory, but it’s exactly where they want to be.
MOUNTAIN LAKE — Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin’s boys’ basketball team is in unfamiliar territory, but it’s exactly where they want to be.
Mountain Lake has not qualified for the state tournament in boys’ basketball since 1952 and Butterfield-Odin qualified once for the state tournament in 1978.
With this being the last season Mountain Lake and Butterfield-Odin will be paired together and the first time since the schools were paired together in 1988 the team has made it to the section championship, the Wolverines are looking to make some history.
“When you look at the history, it’s been a long time,” ML/B-O coach Sean Naas said. “It would be a great accomplishment for the kids and the community, especially with it being the last year the two schools are paired together.”
ML/B-O will take on Sleepy Eye Saint Mary’s Friday at 6 p.m. at Minnesota State University in Mankato in the Section 2A championship with a trip to state on the line.
Although getting this far in the second season is unfamiliar to the Wolverines, SESM (24-4) is not. The two teams met Jan. 10 with ML/B-O edging out a 64-61 win.
“It’s going to be a battle of two styles,” Naas said. “SESM isn’t afraid to shoot the three and they shoot about 30 to 40 each game.
“If we take care of the ball and get the ball inside, we should be fine. We just need to make sure we’re in control of the tempo. It’s not unlikely that they’ll make three 3-pointers in a row and you can get down by a lot if that happens. We need to keep them off the boards and make our shots.”
Behind Carter Kirk and Beau Herrig, the Wolverines are riding a nine-game winning streak into the section championship. During the winning streak the Wolverines have beaten teams by an average of 18 points, but wins haven’t come so easy in the later rounds of the playoffs.
After throttling Madelia 72-46 in the first round, ML/B-O knocked off Granada-Huntley-East Chain 53-46 and Southwest Star Concept 49-40.
Kirk had 22 points and nine rebounds versus Madelia, 11 rebounds versus G-H-EC and 13 points and nine rebounds versus SSC.
Herrig is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds per game in the playoffs.
It was Kirk and Herrig who led the Wolverines over SESM in the regular season. Kirk had a monster game, scoring 23 points and adding 16 rebounds, while Herrig added a double-double of his own, scoring 16 points and 14 rebounds.
“They like to play a quick game,” Herrig said. “If we grind it out with Kirk and myself, we’ll get them.”
The regular season victory means nothing to ML/B-O at this point.
“There is no comfort in playing a team like this,” Naas said. “We’ll get our possessions, that’s for.
“They’re a shooting team and they’re not going to hold the ball or take time off the clock. We just need to take advantage of our scoring opportunities. It’s going to be a contrast of styles and we’re going to have to wait and see which one wins out.”
SESM averages more than 80 points a game and have averaged more than 85 points per game on the team’s current 11-game winning streak behind the shooting of Kansas Adams, Jon Milliard, Jordan Anderson and Adam Sellner.
ML/B-O held SESM to 61 points in the regular season meeting between both squads, which was the lowest scoring output of the season for the Knights.
“That’s because we played good defense and were able to keep them in the 60s,” Naas said. “They’re known to score in the 90s or 100s each game. We need to keep them in the 50s or 60s if we want to advance.
“They put up 39 3-pointers in our game. It’s one way to live and die by the percentages.”
The Wolverines aren’t quite ready to not be ML/B-O; not, at least without making some history.
““Making it to state would be something else,” Herrig said. “It’s something special with the last year of the pairing.”
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy can be reached at 376-7328.