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Section 3A final: W-WG vs. D-B: Numbers don't matter, except the score

You just never know what’ll happen.

The Westbrook-Walnut Grove Chargers and the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks will play for the Section 3A boys basketball championship Thursday -- which is kind of ironic, said D-B head coach Cory Larson on Tuesday.

“Derrick (W-WG coach Derrick Jenniges) and I have talked during the season because we’ve faced some common opponents. I don’t think either of us would’ve expected us both to be here for this,” Larson mused.

But here they are. W-WG, the No. 3 seed in the south half of the section, will play Dawson-Boyd, the No. 5 seed in the northern half, for a state tournament berth Thursday, 8 p.m., at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. The Chargers defeated top-seeded Southwest Christian 74-73 in their sub-section championship Monday night. Dawson-Boyd, which knocked off the top-ranked team in the state, Minneota, in its sub-section semifinal, got by Lac qui Parle Valley 68-59 in overtime to set up Thursday’s showdown.

The Blackjacks deserve to be in this position, both head coaches agree.

“I think that’s just a number,” Jenniges remarked when reminded of D-B’s seeding. “They’ve got some really good athletes. They’re not a stranger to section championships. They’re not a stranger to section tournaments. They’re a successful program, and not just in the winter but year in and year out in all the other sports.”

“I don’t think we’re a typical five seed,” said Larson, stating the obvious. “A win or two (in the regular season) and somebody could have justified us as the No. 2 seed. We like to say that we’re a decent team defensively. Offensively, there’s four or five guys that step up for our leading scorers.”

If there was a star in the the win over LQPV, it might have been junior guard Zach Durfee, who sunk a big 3-point shot to tie the game 55-55 with two minutes left to play in regulation, then scored six unanswered points to start the overtime.

Jenniges says the Blackjacks are athletic, physical and balanced.

Those characteristics also fit Westbrook-Walnut Grove, so the winner of Thursday’s game might be the one that makes fewer mistakes.

That’s the way the Chargers like to play, anyway.

“For us, what we want is to try to eliminate or at least limit those easy scoring opportunities,” Jenniges said. “We want to do everything in our power to make the opposition work for everything they’re going to get.”

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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