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PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Eagles overpower Panthers in quarterfinals

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe The Eagles' Eric Talsma (41) puts up a shot during a boys' basketball Saturday game in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- Eric Talsma score a game-high 22 points, including 16 in the first half, to power the Southwest Christian Eagles to a 79-45 victory over the Ellsworth Panthers in a Class A Boys' Basketball Section 3 Southern Division quarterfinal game Saturday.

"I feel like we came out strong and took it too them right away," SWC guard Nate Pfeifle said. "We kept that going the whole game and didn't sink down to their level."

Despite the lopsided final score, the Panthers stayed with the Eagles for much of the first half.

"We were running with them in those first 10 minutes or so of the game," Ellsworth guard Daniel Kramer said. "We were playing the game we wanted to play by getting shots off and getting back to play defense."

Ellsworth struck first on an 8-foot jumper from Kramer, but Southwest Christian went on a 13-5 run to take a 13-7 lead just 3 minutes into the half.

The Panthers answered back with back-to-back 3-pointers to go along with a 4-footer from Johnathon Kramer to pull within one point of the lead.

"We hung with them for half of the first and we were in the game for a while," Ellsworth coach J.D. Roberts said. "You can't ask much more than that."

But from there on, the Eagles controlled the game and had a 35-26 lead with 5:55 left in the first.

"We started to play tight defense on them in the full court because they had been beating us there in the beginning of the game," Pfeifle said. "And that opened stuff up for us on offense and defense."

The Panthers would not score again in the first, while the Eagles continued to pile on the points to make it 50-26 when the buzzer sounded at the end of the half.

"Our up-tempo offense helps us get down the floor and find open shots before the defense can get settled in," Dominic Nibblink said. "That is the way our offense should be run."

Ellsworth came out fighting to start the second half, but the Eagles were able to squash any run the Panthers attempted to make.

"We wanted to make sure that at the beginning of the second half they knew they weren't going to get back into the game," Nibblink said. "We started out a little shaky, but we got settled in and shut the door on them."

Daniel Kramer led the Panthers with 10 points, while Mitch Leuthold and Johnathon Kramer both added nine points in the game.

Pfeifle picked up 15 points for the Eagles, while Leighton Sampson had 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks on the night.

Ellsworth finishes the season 8-19 and losses just two seniors in Daniel Kramer and D'Shaun Herman.

"We have no regrets for the way our season went," D'Shaun Herman said. "We are all pretty good friends on this team. It stinks that is it over, but we all tried our hardest and you really can't do anything more than that."

Southwest Christian (24-1) advances to the Southern Division semifinals to face Hills-Beaver Creek Thursday in Worthington.



ELLSWORTH (8-19): D. Kramer 4 1-2 10; Leuthold 3 0-0 9; J. Kramer 3 0-0 9; 2 2-2 6; Meester 1 0-0 2; Herman 1 0-0 2; 1 0-0 2; Nolte 2 0-0 5. Totals: 17 3-4 45.

SOUTHWEST CHRISTIAN (24-1): Huisken 1 0-0 2; Pfeifle 5 1-1 15; Knutson 4 0-0 9; Schelhaas 0 2-2 2; Nibbelink 4 2-2 11; Vander Veen 2 0-0 4; Talsma 10 1-2 22; Sampson 3 5-6 14 Totals: 29 10-12 79.

Ellsworth 26 19 -- 45

SWC 50 29 -- 79

3-Point Goals: Ellsworth 6 (Nolte, J. Kramer 3, Leuthold 2); SWC 7 (Pfeifle 4, Knutson, Nibbelink, Talsma). Rebounds: Ellsworth 24 (Nolte 6, Kruse 4, J. Kramer 4); SWC 37 (Knutson 8, Sampson 13). Turnovers: Ellsworth 20, SWC 9.