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West men advance to regional basketball final

COON RAPIDS — The Cinderella run is continuing for the Minnesota West men's basketball team.

The fourth-seeded Blue Jays knocked off another MCAC foe Saturday in the NJCAA Region XIII Tournament, as they handed Rochester an 85-80 defeat to advance Sunday’s championship game. Minnesota West will take on tourney host Anoka-Ramsey at 3 p.m., with the winner advancing to the 2018 NJCAA National Championship Tournament March 15-17 in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.

Minnesota West received 32 points from Alex Brown to lead the way, while Ki'Shawn Syph had 23 points and seven rebounds. Brown was almost perfect from the charity stripe (6-of-7) and was 10-of-18 from the field. The Bluejays’ win moves them to 18-11 overall on the season.

For Rochester, Jumah'Ri Turner had a 43-point performance, with 14-of-25 shooting from the field and a 8-for-8 touch at the free throw line. No other Yellowjacket reached double-digits in points.

Anoka-Ramsey and Minnesota West will be playing today for the third time this season. The Bluejays topped the Golden Rams 87-67 on Jan. 24 in Worthington, while Anoka-Ramsey beat West 99-95 on Feb. 17 in Coon Rapids.