Section 3A boys basketball: Top seeded teams win on Super Saturday
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, Southwest Minnesota Christian, Westbrook-Walnut Grove, and Murray County Central win games
WORTHINGTON — Worthington Senior High School was the host site for the second round of the Section 3A South boys basketball tournament on Saturday. Super Saturday saw top seeded Russell-Tyler Ruthton win 73-46 against ninth seeded Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda. Second seeded Southwest Christian fired out a 90-60 win over Tracy-Milroy-Balaton. Third seeded Westbrook-Walnut Grove survived a defensive duel with Red Rock Central 48-33. Fourth seeded Murray County Central defeated Hills-Beaver Creek 57-39.
The third round of the Section 3A South tournament is planned for Thursday in Worthington. RTR will play MCC at 6 p.m. SWC will play W-WG at 7:30 p.m.
RTR 73, HL-O/Fulda 46
Defending state champion Russell-Tyler-Ruthton hasn’t had many disappointing games this winter, but the Knights entered tournament time on the heels of a rare loss.
Thanks to a balanced and impressive attack, RTR bounced back in fine fashion Saturday with a convincing victory over the scrappy Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda Coyotes.
Junior forward Drew Werkman had 24 points and 16 rebounds as the Knights moved into the sub-section semifinals with a solid performance. The Knights, who dropped a 72-70 decision to Dawson-Boyd in their regular-season finale, trailed only twice in the game, at 3-0 and 6-5, en route to their 25th victory in 26 games.
Talented guards Blake Christianson and Aiden Wichmann combined for 23 points, and senior forward Hayden Gravley added 14 as RTR moved on.
Outstanding senior guard Sawyer Drent scored 20 points for HL-O/Fulda, but the normally accurate long-range shooter was just 1-for-15 from 3-point range against the Knights’ exceptional defensive pressure.
Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda also had a notable defensive effort against the explosive Knights’ offensive attack.
“Our kids played super hard on defense,” said Coyotes’ coach Jeff Drent, the former Worthington Trojan star athlete. “A few shots here or there we’d have liked to go in, but that’s basketball. I’m proud of our effort.”
The Coyotes trailed only 26-23 late in the first half before RTR took control with a 10-0 run. Christianson drove for a bucket, then moments later added two free throws. Werkman, a smooth 6-3 forward with a long wingspan, scored three straight buckets as the Knights took a 36-23 lead to the break.
Drent scored nine in a row for the Coyotes as HL-O/F got within 10 midway through the second half, but Gravley banked in a 3-pointer. Wichmann drove for two, Werkman scored off an inbounds pass and Christianson completed a conventional three-point play as the Knights scored 11 in a row.
Werkman was 12-for-20 from the field and coach Daren Gravley’s Knights, with a defense that forced 13 turnovers, prevailed easily despite hitting just one 3-pointer.
“They just move the ball so well and get a lot of easy buckets because they find the open guy. They’re just a fantastic-coached team,” said Drent. “They’re all tough. It’s a good basketball team.”
Junior guard Tim Salentiny had three 3-pointers for the Coyotes. Junior forward Logan Hattendorf had six points and nine rebounds.
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton advances to meet Murray County Central in the South Sub-Section 3A semifinals Thursday night in Worthington.
Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda 23 46
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 36 73
MCC 57, H-BC 39
It isn’t often that Bryce Hoekman has more blocked shots than points, but the 6-foot-8 junior did Saturday afternoon to help the fourth-seeded Rebels defeat the No. 5 Patriots.
Hoekman had eight points, seven rebounds and at least 10 blocks to lead Murray County Central past Hills-Beaver Creek for the third time this season. Senior standout Christian Tentinger had 15 points and seven rebounds and senior guard Jaden Deacon drilled three important 3-pointers in the second half as coach Tim Cariveau’s Rebels improved to 19-7 on the season.
“Having Bryce in the middle of our defense can be intimidating, but I give H-BC credit, because they did a nice job of finishing,” said Cariveau.
Impressive freshman Jamin Metzger had 13 points and six rebounds for Hills-Beaver Creek (12-15). Senior guard Brock Harnack added eight points.
The Rebels didn’t pull away until early in the second half. Junior guard Aiden Dierks sparked a 14-2 MCC run with a free-throw line jumper. Then Deacon canned a 3-pointer. Tentinger scored off a nice feed from Dierks, and Deacon drilled another trey. Hoekman then scored on a put back and the Rebels had some breathing room.
After the Patriots sliced the deficit to nine with nine minutes to play, Deacon answered with another 3-pointer and the athletic Tentinger added three straight hoops in the lane as the Rebels won going away.
“If not for Jaden, this game is probably going down to the wire,” Cariveau said of Deacon. “Everybody we needed something, he got it for us.”
Senior guard Derek Kluis scored eight points and reserves Dierks, Carter Lewis and Ross Engelkes combined for 14 points off the bench.
The Rebels, who won 11 in a row before dropping their final two games of the regular season, are able to extend their zone defense effectively thanks to Hoekman’s presence inside. The defensive effort helped force 21 H-BC turnovers.
Hills-Beaver Creek 19 39
Murray County Central 24 57
SWC 90, T-M-B 60
Southwest Christian played a balanced game with 45 points in the first half, and another 45 points scored in the second. Four players for SWC scored double digit points, and two players had nine points.
Southwest Christian pulled away from the Panthers midway through the first half. Aidan Schaap frustrated the Panthers defense with drives to the basket as he scored 20 points for the Eagles. Jarett Kuipers, a 6-foot-7 senior, scored 15 points and was 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Trevin Prins scored 15 points, and had three treys. Dawson Rieck scored 14 points, including a buzzer beating midrange shot to end the first half. Gavin Rieck scored nine, all of which were 3-point shots. Joshua Van Dam scored nine for the Eagles.
The leading scorer for the Panthers was sophomore guard Alex Munson with 32 points. Munson has terrific form on his 3-point shots, as he connected on eight against SWC. Munson scored the first 14 points for TMB, and is unafraid of taking a shot in tight coverage.
Taylor Swenhaugen scored six points for TMB.
Southwest Christian gave TMB no easy baskets, and the lack of height on the Panthers squad kept TMB from scoring chances under the hoop.
T-M-B 27 60
SWC 45 90
W-WG 48, RRC 33
Defense reigned supreme in the battle of Westbrook-Walnut Grove and Red Rock Central. The Chargers and Falcons frustrated each other for the opening four minutes and refused to concede a single basket.
Isaac Simonson broke the scoring deadlock, as he connected on a layup through a foul and made the ensuing free throw for a three point play for RRC. Simonson finished with seven points and 21 rebounds for the Falcons.
The second half saw both offenses make adjustments and scoring become less of a premium. W-WG scored 32 second half points and RRC scored 24 second half points.
Kole Curry is a relentless player for the Chargers, and his tenacity was on display as the senior guard posted 22 points. Curry is a great help defender and his 2-on-1 defensive pressure forced RRC into several turnovers. Adyn Vue scored eight points for WWG and Dan Kleven scored seven.
W-WG had 17 team steals.
The leading scorer for RRC was Ashton Holmen with 10 points.
RRC 9 33
W-WG 16 48