he Red Lake contingent chanted in unison “de-fense, de-fense, de-fense.” It’s a word not synonymous with the Warriors.
It caught Maranatha coach Jeff Wall and his Mustangs off guard. Halftime couldn’t come soon enough for the No. 3-ranked team. Wall needed to come up with a solution to solve Red Lake’s defensive intensity.
The Mustangs did just that. They limited Red Lake to seven field goals and 19 points after intermission, overcoming a 12-point halftime deficit for a 59-55 victory in the Class 1A quarterfinals on Thursday at Williams Arena. Maranatha (28-2) will face the winner of Battle Lake (29-1) and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (22-9) in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Friday at Target Center.
“You have to give Red Lake a lot of credit,” Wall said. “They played extremely hard, and extremely intense. They are certainly a much improved team defensively over a year ago.”
The game was a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal, which Maranatha won handily, 95-67.
“I think we thought it was going to be a lot like last year,” Mustangs senior forward Jeremiah Hanson said. “We were caught off guard.”
Hanson’s steal and layup with 23 seconds left broke a 55-all deadlock. The school’s all-time leading scorer finished with 18 points and four steals.
Senior center Jake Meyen capped the comeback with two free throws with one second left. Meyen, who scored a game-high 21 points, made one of two free-throw attempts with 29 seconds left. His make tied it at 55, and his miss led to Hanson’s game-winning steal and layup.
“It was all pretty lucky,” Hanson said. “That was a big break for us.”
Red Lake (23-6) missed a shot with 14 seconds left, and Mustangs junior guard Damario Armstrong came up with a steal nine seconds later. It was his seventh steal to go along with 13 points.
“I was really proud of our defense in the second half,” Wall said. Red Lake shot 27 percent from the floor after intermission. “The kids played with a lot of heart. I was proud to see that.”
The Warriors took a 55-54 lead on sophomore guard Rob Mclain’s driving layup with 51 seconds left. The athletic and active Mclain had 8 points, 14 rebounds, 7 blocked shots, 7 steals and 6 steals before fouling out in the final second.
“He wasn’t letting us get to the basket,” Hanson said.
The Warriors built a 12-point halftime lead, 36-24, thanks to tenacious defensive. They limited Maranatha to eight field goals and forced 12 turnovers in the opening half.
Senior forward Russell Kingbird provided the offense for the Warriors, scoring 15 points. He was 3-for-5 from three-point range. Kingbird finished with 18 points.
“It’s playoff time,” Meyen said. “We had to come back. Lose, and your done.”
Rushford-Peterson 105, Fond du Lac Ojibwe 58
There’s a reason Rushford-Peterson is ranked No. 1.
The Trojans did whatever they wanted offensively against Fond du Lac Ojibwe on Thursday in a Class 1A quarterfinal game. They posted up, beat their defenders off the dribble and buried the three-pointer.
Rushford-Peterson put on an offensive clinic in rolling to a 105-58 victory over the Ogichidaag at Williams Arena. The Trojans (30-1) will face the winner of Central Minnesota Christian (23-3) and Nevis (26-3) in the semifinals Friday at Target Center at noon.
Senior guard Charlie Krambeer set the tone from the outset from three-point range. He scored 28 points – more than twice as many as his season average of 13.5 points per game -- in the first half as the Trojans built a 61-27 lead. Krambeer made six of seven three-point tries. He also had four assists.
When the Trojans wanted to work the ball inside, they looked for senior center Kyler Paulson. He had 10 points at the intermission while Krambeer’s running mates in the backcourt, seniors Jacob Merchiewitz and Alex Vix, each chipped in with eight.
The Trojans shot 68 percent from the floor in the opening half, displaying their ability to move the ball to an open teammate. They had 19 assists on their 23 field goals in the half.
Rushford-Peterson continued its offensive showcase in the opening minutes of the second half before coach Tom Vix used his bench freely. His reserves even widened the lead, stretching the margin to 50 at one point. They eclipsed the century mark with four minutes left.
Krambeer finished with 33 points. Paulson (14), Merchiewitz (13) and Vix (10) also finished in double digits.
Central Minnesota Christian 56, Nevis 47
Central Minnesota Christian’s keys to success -- balance and defense. It has propelled them within two games of a state championship.
The Bluejays limited Nevis to 32 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers en route to a 56-47 victory in the Class 1A quarterfinals on Thursday at Williams Arena. Central Minnesota Christian (24-3) will take on No. 1-ranked Rushford-Peterson (30-1) in the semifinals Friday at Target Center at noon.
The Bleujays held Nevis scoreless for nearly a four-minute stretch early in the second half when they extended a 1-point lead to 10. Nevis missed four shots and turned the ball over twice during that stretch.
Nevis (26-4) battled back within four points, 47-43, with 2 minutes, 51 seconds left, but that was as close as it would get. The Bluejays went 9-for-12 from the free-throw line from that point on to secure the victory.
Junior guard Taylor Slagter had 17 points to lead the way for the Bluejays. Senior forward Austin Bulthuis and sophomore guard Matthew Van Eps each added 13 points.
Nevis sophomore guard Griffin Chase led all scorers with 20 points.
Battle Lake 83, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 66
Battle Lake had one thing on the back of its mind -- Maranatha. But first, it had to take care of business against Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City.
No. 4-rated Battle Lake never trailed in rolling to an 83-66 victory over the Falcons in the Class 1A quarterfinals on Thursday at Williams Arena. The Battlers (30-1) get exactly what they wanted next, a rematch with No. 2 Maranatha (28-2) in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Friday at Target Center.
“We played pretty well, and got the job done,” Battlers senior forward Nick Trosdahl said. He led four players in double figures with 19 points. “We kept the pedal on the metal.”
Battle Lake’s only blemish this season is a 68-61 loss to Maranatha in December. It has won 22 consecutive games since that setback.
“It will be fun to get another shot at them,” Trosdahl said. “They’re a lot like us. I think we have a shot (at beating them).”
Battle Lake junior guards Andrew VanErp (18 points) and Tony Ukkleberg (12) were also in double digits along with sophomore forward Eric VanErp (11).
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City senior guard Alex Hendricks scored a game-high 24 points.