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No. 1 Lake City, No. 5 Zumbrota-Mazeppa advance to Section 1, 2A boys basketball semifinals

Mar. 4—ROCHESTER — Good players step up at big times and in big games and that is what Hunter Lorenson did Monday night.

No. 1-seeded Lake City found itself in a tussle with familiar foe and No. 8 seed Pine Island in Section 1, Class 2A boys basketball quarterfinal play at Mayo Civic Arena. The underdog Panthers made a run to start the second half to creep within 37-32 with 12:16 to play.

That's when Lorenson stepped up for Lake City. The senior point guard drilled two straight 3-pointers to extend the lead to 43-32. From there the Tigers (22-5) pulled away to post a 65-42 victory to advance to the section semifinals. Pine Island closes the season 10-17.

"I just got into the mindset that I had to take over this game," Lorenson said. "That's my goal, if it gets close, take over the game. We're not losing that game."

After Lorenson hit the two big 3-pointers, the Tigers lead never dipped below nine points the rest of the way.

"Hunter's he's our leader, he's a big-time player," Lake City coach Greg Berge said. "He's going to hit big shots. And he hit two threes and kind of put the game out of hand at that moment. That's why you have a guy like that."

Lake City will face No. 5 Zumbrota-Mazeppa (18-10) in the semfinals at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mayo Civic Center.

Lorenson scored 18 points, 14 in the second half when the Tigers closed with a 33-21 scoring run. Senior Keegan Ryan led Lake City with 19 points and 14 rebounds while Jaden Shones chipped in with 10 points.

Two familiar foes were going at it as both teams are in the Hiawatha Valley League. Berge and Pine Island coach Jim McNamara are also very familiar with each other's coaching style.

"It's almost harder because it's almost like practicing or scrimmaging against yourself," Berge said. "You know the tendencies of the players, you know the actions they like to run."

Berge said Pine Island used a number of different sets on Monday, but the Tigers adjusted well, especially in the second half.

"We just kind of increased our defensive intensity and took some better shots on offense," Lorenson said of the second half.

Berge said the first playoff game at Mayo Civic Center is usually the toughest as players are battling nerves and playing on a longer court. Lorenson agreed.

"This is always the hardest game for some reason for us," Lorenson said. "Just different scenery, you have to get the nerves out a little bit. Now we'll be ready for Saturday."

Lake City 65, Pine Island 42

No. 8 PINE ISLAND (42)

Owen Harstad 5 P; Lincoln Braaten 3 P, 4 R, 1 3-PT; Drew Sailer 10 P, 4 R, 4 A; Sven Oberg 10 P, 5 R, 3 S, 2 3-PT; Brandon Week 6 P, 2 3-PT; Luke Sems 8 P, 9 R, 1 3-PT.

No. 1 LAKE CITY (65)

Hunter Lorenson 18 P, 4 R, 3 S, 3 BK, 2 3-PT; David Oeltjen 2 P; Josh Wohlers 6 P, 1 3-PT; Gavyn Lorenson 3 P; Keegan Ryan 19 P, 14 R, 3 A, 3 BK, 3 3-PT; Jaden Shones 10 P, 4 R, 4 A; Rylee Fick 4 P, 4 R.

Halftime: LC 33, PI 21.

Free throws: PI 8-10, LC 7-9. Field goals: PI 14-47, LC 26-54.

Three-point goals: PI 6, LC 6. Turnovers: PI 17, LC 8.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa was the lower seed, at No. 5 to No. 4 for La Crescent-Hokah, but the Cougars had plenty of confidence going into this game.

Z-M had beaten the Lancers 73-62 during the regular season, also in Rochester at the Mayo Civic Auditorium. Z-M had 24 turnovers in that game and that was a big focus in this contest, to protect the ball. The Cougars had just 11 turnovers on Monday.

"To see us down the stretch, execute, take care of the ball and knock down free throws, that was awesome for us to see," Z-M coach Logan Jensen said.

Z-M (18-10) closed the first half with an 11-2 run to take a 32-24 lead at the break and then slowly pulled away in the second half to earn a spot in the section semifinals for the first time since 2003.

"I think jitters always show up when you're on the big floor," Jensen said. "I think we were just a little amped up to start the game. It happens, they're kids, what are you going to do? I thought they calmed down really well and executed to perfection in the second half."

The bigger Zumbrota-Mazeppa team was able to limit the Lancers' inside success and the Cougars controlled the boards.

Z-M also had nice scoring balance as Carter Christoperson and Hunter Streit both had 14 points and Oliver Liffrig added 10. Plus Hudson Ohm and Ethan Miller both scored eight points off the bench and each player hit a pair of 3-pointers.

"We wanted to get the ball inside, we knew they didn't have the size that we did," Jensen said. "But we felt the most important thing tonight was just to keep attacking, go downhill, don't settle for the outside shot. They're tough to hit in this gym."

The Cougars were able to pick their spots and ended up hitting eight 3-pointers, to just five for the smaller Lancers. Parker McQuin scored 15 points to pace La Crescent-Hokah, which closes the season 20-8.

Z-M now faces a tough Lake City team in the semifinals Saturday. The Tigers beat the Cougars twice during the regular season in HVL play.

"They've got everything you need to make a run," Jensen said. "And most importantly those kids have a ton of experience. ... But I know these guys are excited. I know these guys are pumped for the opportunity."

Zumbrota-Mazeppa 69, La Crescent-Hokah 51

No. 5 ZUMBROTA-MAZEPPA (69)

Avery Crosby 2 P; Oliver Liffrig 10 P, 7 R, 3 A; Carter Christopherson 14 P, 4 R, 3 S, 2 3-PT; Hunter Streit 14 P, 8 R, 6 A, 2 3-PT; Preston Ohm 7 P, 7 R; Ethan Miller 8 P, 2 3-PT; Hudson Ohm 8 P, 2 3-PT; Bakster Arendt 1 P; Connor Fogarty 5 P.

No. 4 LA CRESCENT-HOKAH (49)

Berkley Misna 5 P, 1 3-PT; Brady Grupa 7 P; Gunnar Esser 12 P, 1 3-PT; Ryan Nutter 8 P, 2 3-PT; Dawson Schlafer 2 P; Parker McQuin 15 P, 1 3-PT; Colton Conroy 2 P.

Halftime: ZM 32, LAC 24.

Free throws: ZM 11-14, LAC 6-7.

Three-point goals: ZM 8, LAC 5. Turnovers: ZM 11, LAC 5.