PREP BOYS' BASKETBALL: Ellsworth advances with win against Fulda
WORTHINGTON -- Scoring inside and outside equally well Saturday afternoon, the top-seeded Ellsworth Panthers pulled away and claimed a 91-62 victory over the eighth-seeded Fulda Raiders in the quarterfinals of the Section 3A South boys' basketbal...
WORTHINGTON -- Scoring inside and outside equally well Saturday afternoon, the top-seeded Ellsworth Panthers pulled away and claimed a 91-62 victory over the eighth-seeded Fulda Raiders in the quarterfinals of the Section 3A South boys' basketball tournament -- kicking off "Super Saturday" in front of a large crowd at Worthington High School.
Ellsworth (24-3), which has won the last three, and five of the previous six South titles, advances to Thursday night's semifinals. The Panthers will take on fifth-seeded Southwest Christian in Worthington, beginning at 6 p.m.
"We had good inside-outside offensive balance (Saturday)," Ellsworth head coach Tyler Morris said after the game. "We were able to work the ball inside for some scoring chances, and that also helped open up some nice looks from the perimeter. And we really shot the ball well, particularly from behind the 3-point line."
Indeed they did, as the Panthers shot 61 percent (14-for-23) from 3-point land as a team. Senior Adam Van Der Stoep did the bulk of that damage, drilling nine treys and finishing with a game-high 30 points (21 in the second half).
Senior Tom Nolte hit a trio of 3-pointers and scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half, while freshman Casey Schilling (nine points, all in the first half) and senior BJ Kruse each connected once from behind the arc.
Junior Trevor Gruis was a force inside for the Panthers, as he charted a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double. Entering the game with 980 career varsity points, Gruis (four assists) reached the 1,000-point milestone with a free throw at the 5:36 mark of the second half.
The Panthers started to take control of the game midway through the first half, snapping a tie score (tied at 13 with just more than 10 minutes left) with a 14-1 burst and building a 27-14 lead at the 7:59 mark. Nolte (eight rebounds, three shot blocks) buried three 3-pointers and scored on a nifty tip-in to key that run, while Schilling (seven rebounds) added a quick-release trey off one of Van Der Stoep's team-best six assists.
Fulda, which finishes its season with a 10-14 record, countered with a 10-2 run to trim the gap to five (29-24) with 4:35 left. Junior Devin Kuehne (team-high 24 points) nailed a pair of long 3-pointers, including one off a pass from senior Alex Hein (12 points), and senior Tyler Goedtke provided an offensive-rebound basket to spark that run.
Ellsworth, though, regained a double-digit lead behind all three of Van Der Stoep's first-half 3-pointers and took a 44-29 halftime lead.
A four-point play by Van Der Stoep (six second-half 3-pointers) triggered a 15-3 Panthers' run early in the second half, as Ellsworth built a 59-34 lead four minutes in. Gruis scored twice in the lane and also fed junior Matt Buntjer (five points, five assists) for an interior hoop in that sequence.
Fulda scored 10 of the next 13 points and trailed by 18 (62-44) with 11:45 left, as Hein and seniors Aaron Leinen and Sam Olsem each scored in the paint, and Hein -- who took a charge on the defensive end in the first half -- found Kuehne for a long 3-point splash in the left corner to highlight a brief rally by the Raiders.
However, Van Der Stoep dialed in three long-distance shots, and Gruis converted a three-point play to help Ellsworth go on another 15-3 run and opened up a 30-point lead (77-47) at the 7:05 mark.
Ellsworth's largest lead was 86-52 with 5:30 to go, and Fulda scored 10 of the final 15 points to close the gap to 29. Kuehne, Leinen, Hein and senior Ben Gehl (10 points) each scored in the last five minutes.
Senior Kyle Jans, junior Nate Fremstad and freshman Max Dibble also scored in the game for Fulda, combining for six points.
Junior Tyler Chapa scored six points for Ellsworth, which had 22 team assists, held a 42-24 rebounding advantage and finished the game shooting at a 51 percent clip (32-for-63).
Fulda 29 33 -- 62
Ellsworth 44 47 -- 91
FHS (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Gehl 1-3-1-10, Kuehne 4-5-2-24, Hein 0-4-4-12, Goedtke 0-1-0-2, Dibble 0-1-1-3, Leinen 0-1-3-5, S. Olsem 0-1-1-3, Fremstad 0-0-1-1, Jans 0-1-0-2. Totals: 5-17-13-62.
EHS (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Nolte 3-3-3-18, Kruse 1-0-0-3, Schilling 1-2-2-9, Van Der Stoep 9-1-1-30, Gruis 0-8-4-20, Buntjer 0-1-3-5, Chapa 0-3-0-6. Totals: 14-18-13-91.