STATE BASKETBALL: ML/B-O falls in semis 56-36

MINNEAPOLIS -- Holding Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin to just five points on 2-for-22 shooting in the second half Friday afternoon, the top-seeded, top-ranked and undefeated Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars claimed a 56-36 victory over the Wolveri...

ML/B-O Fans
Jocelyn Syrstad/Daily Globe MLBO fans hold up signs during a timeout to cheer on the Wolverines. Kyle Thiessen's sisters held signs that said: "Big Sister Thiessen" and "That's My Lil Brother" in the semifinals of the Class A boys' state basketball tournament at the Target Center Friday.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Holding Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin to just five points on 2-for-22 shooting in the second half Friday afternoon, the top-seeded, top-ranked and undefeated Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars claimed a 56-36 victory over the Wolverines in the semifinals of the Minnesota State High School League Class A boys' basketball tournament at the Target Center.

B-B-E (32-0) advances to the state championship game for the second straight year, as the Jaguars -- who lost 70-58 to Springfield to finish a 32-1 campaign as the runner-up in 2011 -- will take on second-seeded and second-ranked Southwest Christian (28-1) today at noon at Target Center.

Meanwhile, ML/B-O (25-6) will play Rushford-Peterson (25-6) in the third-place game today at 10 a.m. at Concordia University's Gangelhoff Center in St. Paul.

"We have a chance to come back and play better than we did today," ML/B-O head coach Shawn Naas said. "We struggled for most of the game and just couldn't get anything going offensively in the second half. But that's a very good team we just played, so give B-B-E lots of credit for shutting us down and making things difficult for us."

The Wolverines scored 10 straight points early in the first half and had a 10-5 lead at the 13:37 mark, as Kyle Thiessen (three points, four rebounds), Beau Herrig (12 points, nine rebounds) and Cody Penner (eight points) each knocked down a 3-pointer for ML/B-O.


B-B-E answered with an 8-0 run, as Brian Goodwin (17 points, eight rebounds) nailed a 3-pointer and scored on a cut along the baseline before Billy Borgerding (10 points, eight rebounds) hit a trey in transition to give the Jaguars a 13-10 lead with 12:10 remaining.

Interior baskets by Carter Kirk (nine points, seven rebounds) and Herrig lifted ML/B-O to a 14-13 lead, and the Wolverines had a 19-15 advantage -- with 9:33 on the clock -- after Penner pulled up for a 3-pointer from the top of the key and then scored on a sideline out-of-bounds play (Herrig assist).

Herrig (11 first-half points, another 3-pointer a bit later) hit a fadeaway shot from the left block to keep ML/B-O up by four (21-17) with 8:40 to go, but B-B-E countered with a 10-1 surge to assume a 27-22 cushion by the 6:43 mark. The Goodwin brothers -- Brian and Connor -- highlighted that burst with eight straight points, while James Kuefler scored off a steal and assist from Brian Goodwin.

ML/B-O was plagued by turnovers (14 in the first half, 23 for the game) and foul trouble during that stretch, as Herrig, Penner and Thiessen each had three personal fouls at halftime.

The Jaguars extended their lead to eight (35-27) behind a bucket in the paint and four free throws from Connor Goodwin (16 points, 13 rebounds), although the Wolverines trimmed the gap to five (36-31) by halftime on a 12-footer along the left baseline by Kaleb Grev (eight rebounds) and a 17-foot pull-up jumper from the right side by Kirk just before the buzzer sounded.

"Too many turnovers on our part hampered our ability to execute offensively, and we also committed far too many fouls defensively," Naas said. "We were able to shoot well in the first half to stay close, but we simply didn't hit shots in the second half. We did play hard and got after it defensively and on the boards, as did they."

B-B-E, which played various zone defenses and implemented a 1-3-1 half-court trap in the first half, went straight up man-to-man for most of the second half.

"We played great man-to-man defense and were able to put some ball pressure on," B-B-E head coach Dave Montbriand said. "We have some tough kids and we were able to bear down and play better defense in the second half within our man-to-man, as we didn't give up as many easy looks as we did in the first half."


ML/B-O shot just 9.1 percent (2-for-22) from the floor in the second half after shooting 52.2 percent (12-for-23, including 5-for-5 from 3-point range) in the first half. The Wolverines' lone five points in the final 18 minutes came on a free throw from Herrig at the 16:48 mark, a 12-footer by Andrew Hempeck with 10:50 to go and a 17-footer by Kirk with 6:35 on the clock.

B-B-E only scored 20 points in the second half, but was able to stay in command thanks to its staunch defensive effort. Kirby Montbriand (10 points, three rebounds) hit a pair of 3-pointers to help the Jaguars pull away, building comfortable leads that included 45-32, 49-34 and 54-36.

B-B-E 36 20 -- 56

ML/B-O 31 5 -- 36

B-B-E (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): B. Goodwin 1-6-2-17, Kuefler 0-1-1-3, Borgerding 2-1-2-10, Montbriand 2-1-2-10, C. Goodwin 0-5-6-16. Totals: 5-14-13-56.

ML/B-O (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Hempeck 0-1-0-2, Thiessen 1-0-0-3, Penner 2-1-0-8, K. Grev 0-1-0-2, Herrig 2-2-2-12, C. Kirk 0-4-1-9. Totals: 5-9-3-36.

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