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SWC, W-WG, R-T-R, T-M-B advance in Section 3A boys basketball

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Basketball stock art. (Unsplash image by Kylie O'Sullivan)

WORTHINGTON — Four teams remain in the South Section 3A boys basketball galaxy as eight teams battled it out Saturday at the “Super Saturday” quarterfinals at Worthington High School.

Southwest Minnesota Christian blitzed Red Rock Central 79-37, Westbrook-Walnut Grove outlasted Murray County Central 52-47, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton beat Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda 78-52 and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton dispatched Hills-Beaver Creek 83-67.

In the sub-section semifinals on Thursday, again at the WHS gym, Southwest takes on W-WG at 6 p.m. and R-T-R plays T-M-B at 7:30.

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SWC 79, RRC 37

Top-seeded Southwest Minnesota Christian has been a hit all season, and the Eagles displayed a dynamic jam session against the outmanned Falcons.

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Six-foot-6 senior forward Carter Van Hulzen had four impressive slam dunks and scored 25 points as the Eagles ran their winning streak to 13 and cruised into the Sub-Section semifinals.

Senior point guard Micah Schaap scored 17 points, including an emphatic breakaway dunk, and 6-7 junior Jarrett Kuipers also threw down a slam as the Eagles improved to 23-4.

Red Rock Central (3-24) got 12 points apiece from Isaac Simonson and Joseph Strock. But the Falcons were no match for an Eagle team that scored the game’s first nine points and never looked back.

Coach Jamie Pap’s Southwest Christian squad is the defending South Sub-Section champion and is looking for its 12th such title since 1997.

Red Rock Central 19 37

Southwest Minnesota Christian 43 79

W-WG 52, MCC 47

Cole VanDeWiele led the Rock Rock Conference in 3-pointers this season, but was 0-for-4 from deep in the first half Saturday as the fifth-seeded Chargers fell behind the fourth-seeded Rebels.

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But VanDeWiele heated up when it mattered most as W-WG rallied past MCC in dramatic fashion.

“I knew I had to be the leader in the second half and get my guys in front,” VanDeWiele said. “We were down 36-30 and I knew someone had to make some shots to be the guy. I made some shots, we got some rebounds, played good defense, finally got ahead and got the ‘W.’ ”

The Chargers trailed by as many as seven points in the first half against the physical Rebels, who pounded the offensive glass to advantage early on. The MCC lead was six points midway through the second half when the Chargers, fueled by VanDeWiele’s three 3-pointers and Dan Kleven’s aggressive defense, went on a 9-0 run to change the game.

VanDeWiele’s third trey with 4:40 left to play gave the Chargers the lead for keeps at 42-39.

Sophomore sharpshooter Aidan Dierks drilled a long, top-of-the-key 3 with a minute left as MCC got within 49-46. But W-WG hung on as Kole Curry drained two clutch free throws with 13 seconds left.

Brady Ross scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Curry added 11 for the Chargers (15-12). VanDeWiele scored 10.

For MCC (14-12), Christian Tentinger had 14 points and seven rebounds. Chant Mitchell had 13 points and 11 boards, and Dierks finished with 10.

“Tim (Cariveau) does a great job with those guys,” said Chargers coach Derrick Jenniges of his MCC counterpart. “Every time we play it’s been that type of game, some type of battle that comes down to a rebound here or a made basket there. Fortunately for us we were able to get just enough of those in the second half.”

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The Rebels out-rebounded W-WG 39-28, but the Charger defense forced 17 turnovers, including several that were especially costly to MCC down the stretch.

Westbrook-Walnut Grove 23 52

Murray County Central 26 47

R-T-R 78, HL-O/F 52

The second-seeded Knights were a well-oiled machine against No. 7 Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda, displaying a variety of efficient passers, prolific scorers and solid rebounders. R-T-R scored the first six points of the game and stayed in front for the entire first half.

The Coyotes had no answer for 6-3 sophomore Drew Werkman. Werkman, who has every move perfected in the paint, scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half as the Knights took a 37-24 advantage into intermission.

With Werkman working inside on both ends and teammate Darrick Baartman finding the range from outside, the Knights had their work cut out for them in the second half. Baartman scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half -- including his last three from 3-point range -- and his team coasted to victory.

Teammates Cody Wichmann and Aiden Wichmann both added eight points for the winners.

HL-O/F used brothers Carter Drent and Sawyer Drent for points throughout the contest, with Carter scoring 18 (aided by four 3-pointers) and Sawyer scoring 12.

R-T-R 78

HL-O/F 24 52

T-M-B 83, H-BC 67

In a game closer than the final score indicated, sixth-seeded Hills-Beaver Creek outplayed third-seeded T-M-B in the first half but was worn down in the second.

Three-point shots by Liam Raymon and Cole Baker gave the Patriots a 6-0 lead, and 3’s again by Baker and Ty Bundesen made the score 14-4. The Pats led 32-30 at the half.

T-M-B, however, quickly gained the lead as the second half began, outscoring H-BC 9-0 at the start. Hills-Beaver Creek pulled to within two points with nine and a half minutes to go, but from there the Panthers began to pull away.

Tony Nelson, a thick-bodied 6-7 senior, led Tracy-Milroy-Balaton with 21 points. Noah Swenhaugen and Christian Wendland both scored 17 points while Jake Turner and Trevor Smith both scored 11.

Baker almost willed H-BC to an upset with his performance, scoring a game-high 23 points (with four 3-point conversions). Drew Leenderts had 12 points while Oliver Deelstra and Bundesen both added nine.

T-M-B 30 83

H-BC 32 67

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