Luverne falls to Redwood Valley in Section 3AA South semis, JCC advances to subsection title game

Mar. 8—WINDOM — Four high school boys basketball teams played at the Windom Area High School gymnasium Thursday night in the Section 3AA South semifinals, all looking to advance to the subsection title game.

The first game saw top seeded Redwood Valley lead wire to wire in a dominant win over No. 5 Luverne. In game two, No. 2 seed Jackson County Central led by double digits most of the way in its win over No. 3 Pipestone Area.

Here is a recap of how both of Thursday night's section semifinal games went.

Redwood Valley 93, Luverne 66

The first game matched up Big South Conference rivals Redwood Valley and Luverne for the third time this season.

Redwood Valley was victorious in both regular season games with Luverne, winning them by an average of 29.5 points per game. Thursday's game proved to be a similar result, a win by 27 points.

The win improves Redwood Valley's record to 22-5 as the team advances to a subsection championship game for the sixth straight season. It received a first round playoff bye into Thursday's game as the top seed.

Luverne's season ends with a 12-13 record and its first playoff win in four years, a 66-57 win over fourth seeded Fairmont in the subsection quarterfinals March 2.

Thursday's game started with Redwood Valley scoring the first 12 points off of four early Luverne turnovers.

Luverne finally got on the board with just under 13 minutes left on a deep 3-pointer from junior Carter Sehr. Later down 19-6, Luverne tried to battle back. It went on an 8-0 run to cut Redwood Valley's lead down to five points. Leading the run with four points was Gavin DeBeer, the only senior on the LHS roster.

Luverne couldn't sustain the run however as Redwood Valley responded with an 11 straight points to regain control for the rest of the first half, closing it on a 19-6 run. That made the halftime score 38-20.

Redwood Valley quickly extended its lead to 20 points before Sehr got Luverne on the board in the second half with a trey, just as he did in the first half. That helped jump start another 8-0 LHS run to briefly cut its deficit to 14 points.

Redwood Valley immediately responded with a three as its outside shooting proved lethal all game long. Thanks to some lights out shooting along with consistent stops on defense, Redwood Valley went up 21 at 51-30 with around 14 minutes left.

That earlier 8-0 run from Luverne to cut the lead to 14 was the closest it got throughout the half as Redwood Valley continued to gradually stretch its lead for the rest of the game. The lead first reached 30 points at 78-48 with around seven minutes left.

From then on, Luverne got no closer than within 21 points after a mini run from Sehr late in the game, as Redwood Valley walked away with a dominant victory.

In total, Redwood Valley connected on 16 3-pointers in the contest, a major contributor to the big win. Isaiah Dow-Hilliard made an impact, scoring a game high 32 points. Elway Berg added 18 points for Redwood Valley and Lukas Means added 15, with all five of his makes coming from behind the arc.

For Luverne, DeBeer led the way with 21 points with Sehr closely behind with 19. Junior Landon Ahrent scored eight points, sophomore Connor Bose scored seven, sophomore Jaydon Johnson five, junior Elijah Woodley four and freshman Darius Dolo two.

Luverne 20 46 — 66

Redwood Valley 38 55 — 93

Jackson County Central 94, Pipestone Area 80

The second South subsection semifinal game featured another season trilogy between Big South Conference rivals in JCC and Pipestone.

The Huskies won the two regular season matchups over the Arrows by nine points and 11 points respectively. In the playoff rematch, JCC completed the season sweep over Pipestone as it led by double digits for the majority of the game en route to the 14 point victory.

The game didn't start that way though as it was the Arrows who took the early advantage. They scored six straight points following a trey and an and one layup. A three from JCC sophomore Weston Rowe first got the Huskies on the board.

The fast paced nature of the game continued and the Arrows kept hitting early shots to take a 16-9 lead.

"They knew our press was coming, and they executed their press break and got it to a shooter in the corner multiple times," said Huskies head coach Alex Hein. "I would have liked to have seen us do a better job out of the press in all, but credit to them for having a good game plan against our press."

The Huskies began to settle in after that though, responding with a 10-3 run to later tie the game at 19 with around 10:30 left. They quickly took their first lead following back to back treys from Rowe and they wouldn't relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.

Rowe's 3-pointers began a 17-0 run from the Huskies to storm in front 29-19. They began forcing turnovers on the defensive end which led to fast break points and more chances to score on offense.

That led to JCC taking a 15 point advantage, its biggest in the first half, at 39-25 with around six minutes left. Pipestone managed to briefly cut the lead to single digits, but the Huskies ended the half on a 7-0 run to take a 48-33 lead into the locker room.

"The biggest thing we emphasize is that they are going to be aggressive, that they're going to reach, it's gonna be physical, you can't expect fouls to be called and take care of the ball, so that was the biggest thing was that we can't let up and that they're not going to let up," Hein said on his team maintaining the lead after halftime. "So that was what we stressed the biggest. And to take care of the ball and get good shots, and I thought we did that for the most part."

The Huskies extended their lead past 20 points early in the second half before Pipestone tried to inch its way back into the game. The Arrows first cut their deficit under 20 points with just under seven minutes left and they continued to claw back after that.

Leading that charge was senior standout Rysley Borman, who consistently drove to the basket for layups to try and bring his team back. That helped Pipestone cut the JCC lead to 11 multiple times.

The Arrows couldn't get any closer though thanks to continuous answers from JCC sophomore Roman Voss. Every time Pipestone tried to bring the lead to single digits, Voss responded with aggressive drives to the basket for layups.

After that, JCC scored eight straight points to take an 89-70 lead with 1:30 left, which propelled the team to victory in the end.

Voss scored a team-high 29 points with 18 of them coming in the second half. Rowe scored 23 points with 19 of them coming in the first half and sophomore Ben Gallagher added 20 points, and made six of the team's 12 3-pointers.

Borman scored a game-high 36 points for the Arrows, including 26 in the second half. Makhi Winter scored 21 points and Tagon Woelber scored eight.

The Arrows' (15-11) season once again ends in the Section 3AA South semifinals. They dominated Windom 94-54 in the subsection quarterfinals March 2 before the loss to JCC.

The Huskies (19-7) advance to the South subsection championship game for the first time in four years. They opened the section playoffs with a 90-45 win over St. James on March 2 before Thursday's win.

JCC will meet Redwood Valley, the team that ended the Huskies' season a year ago in the subsection semifinals. The two teams met twice this year, with JCC winning the first game by a single point and Redwood Valley taking the second game by 13 points.

"It's gonna be tough, they're a really good team, they shoot the ball really well and they're athletic, so we're gonna have to play really good defensively, and we're gonna have to hit some shots on offense," Hein said. "But right now our offense is rolling, so it's gonna be a tough game, but it's gonna be a great environment and this is all we can ask for at this point. So we're going to have to go in and play our best game, but that's what we expect this time of year."

Pipestone 33 47 — 80

JCC 48 46 — 94