MCC advances with victory over W-WG, 41-38WORTHINGTON — In a closely-contested, defensive-oriented game, fourth-seeded Murray County Central held on to claim a hard-fought, 41-38, victory over fifth-seeded Westbrook-Walnut Grove Saturday afternoon in the second game of “Super Saturday’s” Section 3A South sub-section high school boys’ basketball tournament quarterfinals.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — In a closely-contested, defensive-oriented game, fourth-seeded Murray County Central held on to claim a hard-fought, 41-38, victory over fifth-seeded Westbrook-Walnut Grove Saturday afternoon in the second game of “Super Saturday’s” Section 3A South sub-section high school boys’ basketball tournament quarterfinals.
The victory by the Rebels (15-11) advances MCC to Tuesday night’s semifinal round, while the loss ends a fine season for the Chargers (16-9), who will return their entire starting line-up next winter.
“We did have a good season and we did play hard today,” W-WG head coach Derrick Jenniges said after the game. “We tried to slow MCC down and limit their transition baskets. But we needed to do a better job of attacking offensively.”
The Chargers earned a pair of four-point leads (13-9 and 15-11) in the first half, but the Rebels opened up the game’s biggest spread, 39-34, with 48 seconds left in the contest.
In between times, there were numerous lead changes and the score was tied was tied six times, including being knotted at 20-20 at halftime.
“We had trouble finding our rhythm on offense,” said MCC head coach Tim Bobeldyk. “W-WG gets in your ear pretty well on defense with their ‘in your face’ style of play — even in their zone defenses.”
The score was still tied at 32-all with 5:31 to play in the second half when MCC began to pull away, scoring seven of the game’s next nine points before a Mason Comnick three-pointer brought the Chargers back to within two points (39-37) with 27 seconds on the clock.
A free throw by Spencer Grimmius (six points, five rebounds, four shot blocks) started the Rebel surge. Paul Counter (eight points, eight rebounds, eight assists) found Grimmius in the lane at the 3:12 mark, putting MCC up by three, 35-32.
A pair of free throws by Comnick (game-high 12 points, two assists) brought W-WG within one (35-34) 20 seconds later. But a shot block by Grimmius and a tremendous save by Counter stopped the Chargers on their next possession.
After the Rebels missed a pair of free throws and game was delayed for a few minutes — while some lights went out — Grimmius rejected another Charger shot was fouled as he came up with the ball. He sank both free throws, lifting MCC back to a three-point lead, 37-34, with just over a minute to play.
MCC’s Cole Hegstad (six points, five rebounds) stole the Charger inbounds pass and passed the ball to Counter, who was fouled.
With 48 seconds on the clock, Counter swished both shots and MCC held the game’s largest lead, 39-34.
Twenty-two seconds later, Comnick connected with his three-pointer from the right corner and the Chargers had renewed life.
Three seconds later, Counter was fouled again — but this time he missed them both. Grimmius, however, came through again as he snatched an offensive rebound — off the second miss — and the Rebels had the ball and the lead with time running out.
With nine seconds left, MCC sophomore Eric Wieneke was fouled with the double bonus in effect. He missed his first shot, but made the second — giving him a team-high 11 points — and the Rebels a 40-37 lead.
The game’s excitement was far from over, however, as Comnick was fouled on a three-point try with 1.2 seconds showing on the clock.
After missing the first and making the second, W-WG’s Jace Jarmer rebounded the missed third attempt and scooped the ball into the basket as the buzzer sounded, appearing to tie the game at 40-all and forcing an overtime.
But the shot was ruled a dead ball when it was determined that it did not touch the rim. MCC’s Brian Everson (10 points) was fouled immediately after catching the inbounds pass and made one free throw for the game’s final points.
“It was awesome,” exclaimed Grimmius, when asked about his late-game shot blocks and big rebound. “I am glad that I could help out.”
“We played good defense most of the game,” said Bobeldyk. “We came up with some key rebounds and several key stops late in the game.”
After a three-point play by Comnick had given W-WG a 13-9 lead with 8:06 to play in the first half, Counter found Wieneke for a perimeter shot, cutting the lead to 13-11. At the 6:51 mark, the Chargers went back up four, 15-11, as Jarmer (eight points, seven rebounds, four blocks, four steals) made a dandy move inside.
Scott Veehuis found an open Wieneke for a three-pointer, bringing the Rebels to within one (15-14) before W-WG’s Jon LeBoutillier (nine points, three assists) scored on a fastbreak lay-up started by Joe Doubler’s rebound, putting the Chargers back up three, 17-14.
Everson stroked a deep three-pointer to tie the game at 17-17, before Derek Eichner (nine points, six rebounds) drilled a three-pointer lifting W-WG up three once again, 20-17.
A transition basket by Counter and a free throw by Grimmius tied the score at 20-all by halftime.
A four-point play by LeBoutillier — after he sank a 25-footer from the left wing — gave W-WG a 24-24 lead early in the second half.
A three-pointer by Wieneke gave MCC a 25-24 edge and Counter scored on a nice drive, increasing the lead to 27-24 with 14:54 to play.
LeBoutillier answered with another deep three from the left wing, knotting the score at 27-all with 14:29 remaining.
After Hegstad and Eichner exchanged free throws, Counter’s transition pull-up jumper made the score 30-28, MCC with 12 minutes to play.
Jarmer tied the game at 30-all with a nice move along the baseline with 9:54 left and the Chargers reclaimed the lead — for the first time in over eight minutes when Jarmer found a slashing Eichner in the lane, giving W-WG a 32-30 advantage.
Everson, however, tied the game with a two-pointer, setting the stage for the closing five minutes of action.
W-WG 2018 — 38
MCC 20 21 — 41
W-WG (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Comnick 1-2-5-12, Jarmer 0-4-0-8, LeBoutillier 2-1-1-9, Eichner 2-1-1-9. Totals 5-9-7-38.
MCC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Counter 0-3-2-8, Iverson 1-3-1-10, Wieneke 2-2-1-11, Hegstad 0-2-2-6, Grimmius 0-1-4-6. Totals 3-11-10-41.