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Huskies, Arrows, Saints, Cardinals win in 3AA boys hoops

All four quarterfinal games of the Section 3AA South high school boys' basketball tournament were close Saturday evening, including an overtime thriller at St. James where the top-seeded Saints needed overtime to pull off a comeback victory over ...

All four quarterfinal games of the Section 3AA South high school boys’ basketball tournament were close Saturday evening, including an overtime thriller at St. James where the top-seeded Saints needed overtime to pull off a comeback victory over the eighth-seeded Windom Area Eagles, who led most of the game.

At Jackson, the second-seeded Jackson County Central Huskies held off several gallant second-half rallies by seventh-seeded Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and prevailed with a 72-66 victory.

At Sherburn, fifth-seeded Fairmont won for the seventh time in its last nine games with a 64-52 triumph over fourth-seeded Martin County West, which finished a fine season with a 16-7 overall record.

At Pipestone, the host Arrows (the tournament’s third seed) knocked off the Luverne Cardinals in a typical highly-competitive clash between the two long-time rivals, 55-44.

The two semifinal games, pitting Fairmont (13-13) vs. St. James (16-8) and Pipestone Area (14-11) vs. JCC (17-9), will both be played at Windom Thursday (March 7) with the Cardinals and Saints tipping off at 6 p.m. The Arrows and Huskies will meet for a third time 25 minutes after the finish of the opening game, at approximately 7:45 p.m.

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JCC 72, T-M-B 66 JACKSON --- Rudy Voss finished with 23 points, including a nine-of-10 performance at the free throw line, and Andrew Hesebeck scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half as he knocked down a trio of 3-pointers and sank a pair of clutch free throws.

Those late-game efforts by Voss and Hesebeck were key factors that helped JCC pull away from the Panthers, who had rallied with several long-range 3-pointers by junior guards Jake Tauer and Trevor Larson.

The game featured a total of 20 made 3-pointers (11 by JCC and nine by T-M-B). The Huskies made five long shots in the first half and six after intermission, while the Panthers hit just one 3-pointer in the first half before connecting on eight shots from behind the arc in an exciting second half with lots of lead changes and tied scores.

After JCC led most of the first half (5-0, 13-4 and 22-14), T-M-B surged with a 12-6 run to come within two points, 28-26, on a basket by Konnor Zick (assist Larson) at the buzzer.

Fritz Landherr (10) and Zick (eight) scored 18 of T-M-B’s first-half points, while Voss (eight), Hesebeck (six) and Bradley Buhl (six on a pair of corner 3-pointers) had combined to score 20 points for the Huskies.

Tauer, who fired a couple of terrific assist passes in the first half, opened the second half with a two-point field goal that tied the game at 28-all.  As the game progressed, there were six more ties (36, 41, 43, 45, 50 and 52) before JCC opened up late leads of 59-52 and 63-55.

Hesebeck answered with a trey for the Huskies and after an inside field goal by T-M-B’s Lucas Gervais, the Panthers took their first lead (33-31) after a 3-pointer by Landherr. Moments later, JCC was back to top (34-33) when Jack Brinkman cashed in a 3-pointer for the Huskies. A bucket by Noah Carr gave JCC a three-point lead (36-33), but Tauer responded with a trey for the Panthers, knotting the score at 36.

A long-range 3-pointer by Larson (his first of four in the second half) gave T-M-B a 39-38 edge, but Hesebeck quickly answered with his second trey of the half and JCC was back on top, 41-39.

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A pair of free throws each by Larson and Jeff Davis offset a driving hoop by Voss and with 13:58 remaining, the score was tied at 43-43. Dominic Bargfrede scored for JCC and Gervais countered for T-M-B and it was 45-all. A basket by Tauer at the 12:06 gave the Panthers a two-point edge, 47-45, as T-M-B had put 21 points on the board in 5:54.

The Huskies reclaimed the lead (48-47) when a Voss pass found Buhl open in the right corner for his third 3-pointer of the game. Another Voss assist (this time to Parker Benda underneath) increased the lead to 50-47.

Following a timeout, Larson delivered again from long range and the score was tied for a fifth time (50-50) with 9:53 showing on the clock.

A basket in the lane by Davis gave T-M-B its final lead (52-50). A pair of free throws by Voss, a rebound basket by Voss, another driving hoop by Voss and a 3-pointer by Brinkman (assist Voss) capped a 7-0 run for the Huskies and with 5:04 remaining, JCC owned a 59-52 advantage.

Landherr sliced the gap to four with a corner 3-pointer, but Voss passed to Hesebeck for another JCC 3-pointer and the Huskies still led by seven, 62-55. A Voss free throw was followed by Larson’s third 3-pointer (assist Zick) and it was 63-58 with just under three minutes to play. Voss drove again for a score (65-58) and Tauer connected on another 3-pointer for T-M-B which made it a four-point spread (65-61) with 2:27 left.

After a missed shot by the Huskies, Larson knocked down another shot from about 23 feet, which trimmed the lead to one (65-64) with 1:17 to play.

A free throw by Jordan Hassing put the Huskies back up two (66-64), and with 34 seconds left Voss was fouled after rebounding a Panther missed 3-point attempt. He sank both free throws for a four-point lead (68-64). Seventeen seconds later, Gervais answered for T-M-B with a pair of free throws (after being fouled on offensive rebound) and it was a two-point game, 68-66.

The Huskies clinched the victory with two free throws each by Voss and Hesebeck in the closing seconds and earned their advancement to the semifinals.

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T-M-B, led in scoring by Larson (17), Landherr (16) and Tauer (13), finished its season with an 11-13 overall record.

T-M-B 26 66                                                                                                                                                                 

 JCC 28 72

T-M-B (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Tauer 3-2-0-13, Larson 4-1-3-17, Zick 0-4-0-8, Landherr 2-4-2-16, Timmerman 0-1-0-2, Davis 0-1-2-4, Gervais 0-2-2-6. Totals 9-15-9-66.

JCC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Carr 0-3-1-7, Voss 2-4-9-23, Buhl 3-0-0-9, Benda 0-2-0-4, Brinkman 2-0-0-6, Bargfrede 0-1-0-2, Hassing 1-0-1-4, Hesebeck 3-2-4-17. Totals 11-12-15-72.

St. James 64, Windom 56 (OT)

  1. JAMES --- Playing what head coach Mitch Boeck called his team’s “best defensive game of the season,” the Windom Area Eagles held St. James to 21 first-half points and took a 29-21 lead into intermission.

The Eagles maintained a lead most of the second half, but fell behind by five late before rallying with a two-point field goal and a three-pointer by senior guard Eric Pfeffer (with just under a minute remaining) to knot the score at 52-all.
Windom’s defense held off of the Saints final attempts to win the game at the end, forcing overtime.

In the extra four minutes, the Eagle had two early chances but missed both shots. St. James countered with a two-point field goal and a three-pointer to take a five-point lead, 57-52. The Saints held on, scoring seven of the next 11 points to claim the victory.

Pfeffer finished with 17 points to lead the Eagle in scoring, while sophomore Conner Redman scored 13 points. Windom senior Kobe Lovell finished out his fine career with nine points and impressive 18-rebound (15 defensive) performance.

The Eagles, who were close to winning numerous times this season, finished 2-24 overall with just two seniors --- Pfeffer and Lovell --- on the roster.

Eagles 29 52 56                                                                                                                           

Saints 21 52 64

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