Eagles fly past Raiders, 85-63

WORTHINGTON -- Southwest Christian scored 18 straight points in the first half Saturday afternoon, as the second-seeded Eagles claimed a huge 44-19 halftime lead and earned an 85-63 victory over the seventh-seeded Fulda Raiders in the Section 3A ...

WORTHINGTON -- Southwest Christian scored 18 straight points in the first half Saturday afternoon, as the second-seeded Eagles claimed a huge 44-19 halftime lead and earned an 85-63 victory over the seventh-seeded Fulda Raiders in the Section 3A South boys' basketball tournament quarterfinals.

SWC (18-5) advances to the South semifinals Tuesday against third-seeded Adrian at 7:30 p.m. in Worthington. Fulda ends the season with a 10-14 record.

Eleven players scored for the Eagles, who nailed 11 three-pointers and used an 18-0 run to stretch an 11-10 lead with 12:17 left in the first half into a 29-10 bulge at the 5:52 mark.

"We played really well on both ends of the court in the first half, and our perimeter shooting opened things up for us," SWC head coach Jamie Pap said. "Fulda is a good team, and David Crowley is a great player and one of the nicest kids I've ever coached against."

Alex Huisken (16 points, six rebounds) scored a pair of baskets in the paint during that game-changing stretch, while Ethan Spronk (seven points) hit a three-pointer from the right corner and came up with a steal and layup.


Trevor Holm (10 points) had a free throw and a putback basket in that sequence, and Rob Van Hofwegen (12 points, six rebounds, four assists) drilled a pair of three-pointers to help the Eagles break the game open.

Fulda scored the next four points on Tom Kuhl's offensive-rebound basket, and Crowley's hoop after a steal to make it 29-14, but SWC outscored the Raiders 15-5 over the final 4:13 to go up 44-19 at the break.

Huisken and Mike Vander Veen each knocked down a three-pointer, while Van Hofwegen and Tyler Mouw each scored in the lane, and Nicholas Pfeifle meshed an 18-footer from the right wing and later a 10-footer along the left baseline to spark the Eagles.

Huisken netted a jumper from the left elbow, and Van Hofwegen fired in another trey to help the Eagles gain their largest lead of the game (49-21) 1:49 into the second half.

Fulda, though, scored 17 of the next 23 points to slice the margin to 17 (55-38) with 12:41 left.

Tyler Goedtke scored inside and sank two free throws, Alex Hein (seven points, four rebounds) made a pair of foul shots, Nate Fremstad (eight points) nailed an 18-footer on the left baseline, Kuhl had an offensive rebound and three-point play, Crowley scored on a pair of nice drives, and Devin Kuehne (11 points) scored on a sweet spin move and jumper in the lane to trigger the Raiders in that stretch.

However, SWC quickly regained a 28-point cushion (70-42) at the 8:42 mark by going on a 15-4 surge.

Ryan Pronk (15 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds, three steals) swished a three-pointer and scored on a give-and-go play with Huisken, while Vander Veen connected from 18 feet out on the right wing, and Mouw stroked a top-of-the-key three-pointer to fuel the Eagles.


The margin was never closer than 22 points the rest of the way, as Pronk continued to make plays, and Kellen Kooi scored four points to help keep the Eagles in command.

Crowley (16 points, six rebounds, six steals, three assists) had a steal and layup before finding Aaron Leinen (four steals) and Sam Olsem for a basket apiece over the final eight-plus minutes, while Kuhl (nine points, eight rebounds) scored twice in the paint, Hein scored inside and made a free throw, and Kuehne banged in a pair of three-pointers to spark the Raiders, who won the second half 44-41.

Crowley's coast-to-coast steal and layup started the game's scoring, as Fulda had an early 2-0 lead just 12 seconds in.

After Holm scored on a drive, Crowley scored on a sparkling drive and spin move in the lane to put the Raiders up 4-2 at the 16:33 mark.

SWC answered with a 7-0 run to go up 9-4 two minutes later, as Tommy Van't Hof and Huisken each had a layup and stickback basket, respectively, and Pronk, who later found Spronk for a three-pointer in the right corner, dropped in a trey from out top.

Fulda closed the gap to one (11-10) with 12:17 left, as Hein's putback basket, Dibble's 15-foot, right-baseline shot, and Kuehne's two free throws rallied the Raiders.

That's when SWC scored 18 unanswered points to take control of the game.

"The Eagles have a very nice team, and they showed fans why they are 18-5 with their performance today," Fulda head coach Brad Holinka said. "We made some great strides and improved tremendously as a basketball team this season."


Fulda 19 44 -- 63

SWC 44 41 -- 85

FHS (3PT-2PT-F-TPT): Kuehne 2-1-3-11, Hein 0-2-3-7, Crowley 0-8-0-16, Dibble 0-2-0-4, Goedtke 0-2-0-4, Kuhl 0-4-1-9, Leinen 0-1-0-2, S. Olsem 0-1-0-2, Fremstad 0-2-4-8. Totals: 2-22-13-63.

SWC (3PT-2PT-F-TPT): Pronk 3-3-0-15, Van't Hof 0-1-1-3, Kooi 0-1-2-4, Van Schepen 0-1-0-2, Holm 1-2-3-10, Spronk 1-2-0-7, Vander Veen 1-1-1-6, Pfeifle 0-2-0-4, Huisken 1-5-3-16, Van Hofwegen 3-1-1-12, Mouw 1-1-1-6. Totals: 11-20-12-85.

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