Redwood stands, Arrows fall in South 3AA finals
The Redwood Valley Cardinals defeated Pipestone Area Saturday night in Marshall to capture the South Section 3AA boys basketball title
MARSHALL — Alex Lang’s long 3-pointers helped Redwood Valley to a first-half lead, but with the game on the line the senior took it to the basket.
And now the Cardinals are one victory away from the state tournament.
Lang scored 11 of his 22 points in the final minutes as Redwood Valley outlasted the Pipestone Area Arrows 68-56 Saturday afternoon in the South Sub-District Section 3AA championship boys basketball game.
Center Carson Woodford had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and senior guard Charles LaChapelle had 15 points and several sparkling defensive plays as Redwood Valley advanced to Thursday night’s Section 3AA title game.
The game was tied at 53 with two minutes left. Lang then outscored the Arrows 11-1 as the Cardinals took control down the stretch before an energized crowd at Southwest Minnesota State University. The Cards are 22-7 and have won 11 of their last 12 games.
“Someone’s got to stop up and today it was me,” said Lang, a 6-foot guard. “I had a mismatch (against one of Pipestone’s 6-4 forwards) and decided I would take it to the bucket and score.”
Senior forward Kaden Musch had 25 points for Pipestone, including a flurry of 13 straight late in the first half as the Arrows rallied from a nine-point deficit to tie the game at the break. Lang drained a trio of treys to help the Cards build the early bulge.
“Redwood shot amazing. They’re a good team,” said Musch. “We didn’t play great defense today.”
The Arrows finished 22-6, losing for the second time in three meetings with Redwood Valley.
“We’re all proud of our season,” Musch said. “But we didn’t want it to end like this.”
Pipestone seemingly seized the momentum by scoring the last nine points of the first half. The Arrows led by three on several occasions in the second half, but it didn’t last thanks to a solid Redwood Valley defensive effort.
“We fronted with our guards, and got good help-defense,” said Woodford, a 6-8 center. “The first half I could have played a little more aggressively in the post, but we got it done in the second half and that’s all that matters.”
The Cardinals were plus-five in the turnover department, out-rebounded the Arrows 27-23 and shot 10-for-12 from the foul line, compared to Pipestone’s 7-for-14 effort at the stripe.
With the game in doubt and minutes to play, Lang took over by repeatedly driving to the hole against man-to-man pressure.
“It was a great battle,” said Cardinals’ coach Aaron Lindahl. “We knew it was going to come down to a handful of possessions. We did a great job of being locked in when we needed it, got a couple of big stops and a couple of big buckets.”
LaChapelle was in the middle of a few turnover-producing plays that made a difference in the waning moments.
“We’ve got a ton of guys who can score the basketball, but we’ve got a ton of guys who are great on-ball defenders, too,” Lindahl said.
Lang made five of his seven field-goal attempts in the second half, while Woodford shot 4-for-5 from the field in the final 18 minutes.
“They took it to the hoop. We just couldn’t stay in front of them in the second half,” said Pipestone coach Todd Tinklenberg.
Musch shot 12-for-16 from the field in a tremendous offensive performance. He drilled his last seven shots of the first half.
“Kaden’s the heart of this team,” Tinklenberg said of the 6-4 senior. “He took the team on his shoulders and carried them.”
Junior guard Merrill Heidebrink had 10 points and senior guard Connor Zephier added eight for Pipestone. The Arrows were just 3-for-15 from 3-point range.
Pipestone Area entered the game having won six straight. The Arrows have been a consistently successful program under Tinklenberg.
“We’ve got some good kids coming up, but man, we’re really going to miss these seniors,” Heidebrink said. “They’re all a bunch of good people, great teammates and even better friends.”
Pipestone Area 27 56
Redwood Valley 27 68
PIPESTONE AREA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Connor Zephier 1-1-3-8, Kellen Johnson 0-1-3-5, Rysley Borman 0-2-0-4, Merrill Heidebrink 2-2-0-10, Caden Strasser 0-1-0-2, Kaden Musch 0-12-1-25, Jaden Lorang 0-1-0-2. Totals: 3-20-7-56.
REDWOOD VALLEY (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Drew Lundeen 1-2-2-9, Charles LaChapelle 2-4-1-15, Robert Halverson 0-1-0-2, Alex Lang 3-5-3-22, Zack Reck 0-1-1-3, Jahger Bill 0-1-0-2, Carson Woodford 0-6-3-15. Totals: 6-20-10-68.