PREP BASKETBALL: ML/B-O advances to state for first time since merging
Daily Globe MANKATO -- For the first time since the two high schools have been paired together in basketball, the Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin boys' team will participate in the state tournament. The Wolverines defeated Sleepy Eye Saint Mary's ...
MANKATO -- For the first time since the two high schools have been paired together in basketball, the Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin boys' team will participate in the state tournament.
The Wolverines defeated Sleepy Eye Saint Mary's Friday 72-56 to win the Section 2A championship and advance to the state tournament next week.
It is the first time since 1952 that Mountain Lake has made it to the tournament, and the first time since 1978 that Butterfield-Odin advanced.
"It's been a long drought for each of these schools," ML/B-O head coach Shawn Naas said. "It's really a special thing and we're so proud of these kids."
To make the trip even more special, the boys' state basketball tournament is celebrating its 100th year this season. And none other than Mountain Lake finished second in 1912 -- the first year of the tournament.
And with Mountain Lake and Butterfield-Odin severing its athletic ties next year, the trip to state comes at the perfect time.
"It's just outstanding that this is all happening now," Naas said. "Just outstanding."
Friday night, the Wolverines held the lead for the entire game, quickly establishing a 15-5 lead out of the floodgates.
ML/B-O played extremely well in the first half, shooting 16-of-20 from the field in the first 18 minutes.
The Knights' were never able to close the gap by less than eight points throughout the game.
"We played extremely well, extremely well," Naas said. "We dictated the tempo and completely took them out of their game."
SESM, which is notorious for shooting the 3-point ball, went only 4-of-40 from outside the arc.
The Knights (24-5) didn't score less than 60 points all season -- their lowest score during the regular season was 61 points in a loss against ML/B-O -- making the section championship their lowest scoring game of the season.
"This team usually scores in the 80s or 90s each game. To do what we did is great," Naas said. "We played great defense. Playing in a tough Red Rock Conference all season really prepared us for this and gave us a lot of different looks all season. That tough competition we faced all year really helped us out tonight."
The Wolverines (24-5) are on a 10 game winning streak dating back to Feb. 10.
Friday night, they had four players in double figures.
Carter Kirk led ML/B-O with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Beau Herrig added 14 points and 12 rebounds, Andrew Hempeck had 11 points and six assisits, Cody Penner had 16 points and Kyle Thiessen had five points for the Wolverines.
ML/B-O will play in the quarterfinals of the Class A state tournament on Thursday. The Wolverines don't yet know who they will face.
"We stopped everything they tried to do," Naas said. "We played very well and we're extremely proud of these kids."
SESM 25 31 -- 56
ML/B-O 40 32 -- 72