PREP BOYS' BASKETBALL: Eagles fly past Mavericks, 70-65

REDWOOD FALLS -- Once again putting together an impressive surge, the high-flying Windom Eagles are the sub-section boys' basketball champions. Winning for the eighth time in its last 10 games, Windom broke open a tight contest with Martin County...

Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Windom's Levi Gotto (22) looks to shoot over Martin County West's Zach Koenecke during the second half of Saturday's Section 3AA South championship game in Redwood Falls.

REDWOOD FALLS -- Once again putting together an impressive surge, the high-flying Windom Eagles are the sub-section boys' basketball champions.

Winning for the eighth time in its last 10 games, Windom broke open a tight contest with Martin County West Saturday night -- at the jam-packed Redwood Valley High School gymnasium -- by going on a 22-7 run over a seven-minute stretch of the second half.

That burst by the Eagles turned a 32-32 deadlock into a 54-39 advantage, allowing Windom to claim the Section 3AA South championship with a 70-65 victory over the top-seeded Mavericks, who finish their season with a 22-7 record.

"Windom is a good, young athletic team with a great future," MCW head coach Cliff Anderson said. "We had some success early in the game against their man-to-man defense, but we had trouble when they went to that 1-2-2 zone, which we knew was coming."

The Mavericks, despite being called for numerous traveling violations early in the game, held the scoreboard advantage most of the first half.


But third-seeded Windom, which improved to 17-10 for the season, tied the contest twice in the closing minutes before intermission and then took its first lead of the game early in the second half.

With sophomores Travis Mattson (16) and Levi Gotto (11) combining for 27 second-half points -- and steady senior playmaker Ryan Gilbertson adding eight timely tallies -- the Eagles dominated much of the action after the break, earning a pair of 15-points leads.

"We knew each other well," Windom head coach Corey Christopher summarized after the game. "We have a lot of respect for MCW and we feel fortunate to have been able to capitalize on some breaks and get into a nice rhythm in the second half and open up a nice lead."

The victory advances the young and talented squad to the Section 3AA championship game where the Eagles will meet Montevideo for the right to play in this year's state tournament.

The third-seeded Thunderhawks defeated top-seeded MACCRAY (26-2) in Saturday's North championship game, 61-53.

The Windom vs. Montevideo clash will take place Thursday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall with an 8 p.m. tipoff.

The Eagles edged the Thunderhawks on that same court Jan. 24 (47-46) on a game-winning layup by Jake Holt (23 points, six rebounds) with 14 seconds left. Windom, which also received 16 points and five rebounds in that game from Lee Holt, trailed by nine points (27-18) at halftime, but -- aided by 53 percent field goal shooting (22-of-42) for the game -- rallied for the one-point victory.

Eagles lead 56-41 with 7:28 left in game


Lee Holt, who had tied Saturday's game at 27-all by sinking a free throw with 12 seconds left in the first half, scored the opening basket of the second half, as the freshman forward powered his way to the hoop with a strong move inside.

That basket gave Windom its first lead of the contest, but it was short-lived, as MCW's Geoff Krumwiede (17 points, 10 in the second half) fired in his second 3-pointer of the night and the Mavericks took a 30-29 lead -- which would be their last of the game.

Mattson, who had scored nine points in the first half, caught a pass from Spenser Kipfer (seven assists, eight points) and drilled the first of his three second-half 3-pointers, giving Windom a 32-30 lead with 16:55 to play.

After MCW's Evan Barber sank a pair of free throws to tie the score at 32-32, the Eagles answered with what turned out to be the game-winning run.

Gilbertson started the burst by clearing himself for a left baseline jumper and after Mattson pulled down a defensive rebound and received a pass back from Kipfer -- Mattson's 3-pointer lifted the Windom lead to five, 37-32, with 15:44 on the clock.

"We lost Mattson a few times in transition," said Anderson. "He is a great shooter and we needed to find him quicker."

After MCW missed on a nice high-low opportunity, Gilbertson dished a pass to Lee Holt who was fouled on the shot attempt. Holt made one free throw, increasing the lead to six, 38-32.

A minute later, Gilbertson banked in a shot from the top of the key, giving Windom a 40-32 advantage at the 14:08 mark.


Krumwiede answered the 13-5 Eagle run with another 3-pointer and then fed Jonathon Traetow (14 points, eight in the first half), closing the gap to 40-37 with 13:05 to play.

Gotto's 3-pointer (with 12:21 showing) off an inside-out "kick out" pass from Lee Holt, pushed the Eagle lead back to six, 43-37.

With momentum on its side, Windom scored again after a steal by Mattson, who passed to Kipfer and received a return pass back -- before drilling another 3-pointer from the right wing.

The Eagles had netted four treys during that 19-10 spurt and held a 46-37 advantage with 11:55 to play.

Twenty-five seconds later, Kipfer's rebound basket increased the lead to 11, and then Gotto made the score 50-37 when he converted a hustling steal into a layup at the 9:44 mark.

After Barber scored inside for the Mavericks to stop Windom's 10-0 run, Gotto drove for an impressive coast-to-coast layup, giving the Eagles another 13-point lead, 52-39.

"Those were a pair of great plays by Levi," praised Christopher. "He can really create in the open court and those were a crucial set of plays at that point in the game, coming soon after those transition 3-pointers by Travis."

Mattson made it a 15-point spread (54-39) at the 8:20 mark when he scored underneath off a great pass from Lee Holt.


Traetow (assist Krumwiede) scored for MCW, but Lee Holt received a nice pass from twin brother Jake and was fouled on a shot attempt with 7:28 on the clock. Lee sank both free throws, building the lead back to 15, 56-41.

It was looking like Windom was ready to duplicate its late-season (Feb. 21 at Windom), 82-64, victory over MCW.

But the Mavericks -- whose seven losses (one to Ellsworth, one to Worthington, two to Windom and three to 24-0 and Class A top-ranked Granada-Huntley-East Chain) were all inflicted by teams that are still playing -- rallied back and made the game exciting to the finish.

Two free throws by Krumwiede started the rally and a 3-pointer by Kaleb Anderson (eight points, six in the second half) brought MCW to within 10 points, 56-46 with 5:36 to play.

After a free throw by Mitchell Olson (nine second-half points) closed the gap to nine, Gilbertson sank a pair of free throws, increasing Windom's lead to 11 (58-47) with 5:20 to play.

Anderson scored on a steal and layup, making the score 58-49 at the 4:51 mark.

Thirty-one seconds later, Mattson did a nice job meeting a pass and was fouled. His two free throws made it an 11-point spread again.

Olson sank a pair of free throws with 3:18 to play as Lee Holt (six points, two assists, four rebounds) fouled out.


Over the next minute, an inside basket by Traetow was offset by two free throws by Gotto and the Eagles maintained a nine-point edge, 62-53, with 2:08 left.

Krumwiede sank two from the line at the 1:54 mark, but three seconds later he fouled out -- joining teammate Zach Koenecke, who had been called for his fifth foul with 2:23 to play -- and Mattson (12-of-14 at the line) sank two more free throws, pushing the Eagle lead to nine once again.

Another free throw by Olson cut the margin to eight, but the Eagles handled MCW's press well and a free throw by Kipfer gave Windom a 65-56 advantage with 1:26 to play.

But the Mavericks continued to battle back, trimming the lead to six on a 3-pointer by Jacob Eggestein with 1:15 to play.

A free throw by Mattson made it 66-59 at the 1:03 mark, but Anderson scored on a drive and with 56 seconds remaining -- it was a five-point game, 66-61.

After a pair of missed free throws by the Eagles, Anderson was perfect on two from the line -- and with 37 seconds to play, the lead was just three, 66-63, as the Mavericks finished a 22-10 run.

Three seconds later, Gotto netted a pair from the stripe, building the lead back to five.

Twenty seconds after that, Gilbertson rebounded a long missed Maverick 3-pointer and his two free throws with 14 seconds left clinched the Eagle victory.


Olson made a pair from the line with six seconds left, making the final score 70-65.

"We had a nice run at the end and made them (the Eagles) earn their victory," concluded coach Cliff Anderson. "It hurt when Krumwiede picked up his third foul in the first half when we had the lead. But Windom played well in the second half and we wish them the best of luck in the section finals."

MCW earns early leads

Behind the inside play of Traetow, a pair of 3-pointers by Conner Grupe and a trey each by Krumwiede and Koenecke, MCW built early leads of 3-0, 8-4, 11-6, 13-8 and 15-10.

An offensive-rebound bucket by Traetow gave the Mavericks a 17-10 advantage halfway through the first half.

But trailing 19-14 at the 7:15 mark, Windom rallied with a 13-8 run to knot the score by halftime, capped by a 3-pointer from Kipfer, a jumper by Gilbertson and Lee Holt's free throw.

Mattson finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and a trio of assists for the Eagles, while Gotto and Gilbertson, who never missed a shot (4-for-4 from both the field and the line), added 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Jake Holt claimed eight rebounds for the Eagles, who shot 59 percent from the field (19-of-32), while shooting 63 percent (27-of-47) at the line.

Windom 27 43 -- 70

MCW 27 38 -- 65

Windom (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Gilbertson 0-4-4-12, Kipfer 1-2-1-8, L.Holt 0-1-2-6, Gotto 1-2-6-13, Mattson 3-2-12-25, J.Holt 0-3-0-6. Totals 5-14-27-70.

MCW (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Grupe 2-0-0-6, Koenecke 1-0-0-3, Anderson 0-3-2-8, Olson 1-0-6-9, Eggestein 1-0-0-3, Krumwiede 3-2-4-17, Traetow 0-7-0-14, Barber 0-1-3-5, Totals 8-13-15-65.

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