Super Saturday: Four area boys basketball teams punch their tickets to Section 3A South semis

Mar. 4—WORTHINGTON — Murray County Central's Aidan Dierks hit a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to give the Rebels an 84-83 victory over rival Tracy-Milroy-Balaton at the Worthington High School gymnasium Saturday as the Section 3A South boys basketball tournament continued.

Also victorious on "Super Saturday" was top-seeded Hills-Beaver Creek, which cruised to a 65-44 triumph over Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda.

Other winners included Southwest Minnesota Christian, who defeated Westbrook-Walnut Grove 81-57 and Russell-Tyler-Ruthton defeating Red Rock Central 73-62.

The Section 3A South tourney continues Thursday night at the WHS gym. Here is a recap of how Saturday's quarterfinal games went.

Hills-Beaver Creek 65, Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda 44

The youthful Patriots displayed veteran acumen and strength while rolling to an easy victory.

Sophomore guard Jamin Metzger had 11 points, eight rebounds and several nice assists as the Patriots of first-year coach Chad Rauk improved to 18-8 on the season.

The Patriots took control by scoring the game's first 14 points and never looked back, prevailing thanks to a huge advantage on the boards and a physical, full court defense that forced 20 turnovers.

"We knew we had to get off to a hot start," Metzger said. "Our defense carried us."

Junior guard Sawyer Bosch had 12 points and sophomore Michael Bush added 11.

"Our team is young, but they've played together for quite some time now," said Rauk. "They really play well together and it kind of starts on the defensive end."

The southpaw Metzger, who is also a star quarterback for his uncle, H-BC gridiron coach Rex Metzger, was clearly a difference-maker.

"Jamin's a great scorer but he's an even better passer," said Rauk, who has been with the Patriot basketball program as an assistant for 25 years before taking over the top job this season. "He's a great defender and great rebounder. Really does a lot of things for us."

Freshman Bryce Nielsen had 10 points and seven rebounds for HL-O/F (4-23), which defeated Edgerton 51-48 on Thursday in a 3A South play-in game. Senior guard Sam Goedtke added 10 points for coach Carter Grupp's club.

Hills-Beaver Creek advances to meet Murray County Central as the 3A South tourney continues Thursday night at 6. The Patriots defeated the Rebels twice in as many tries this season, by five and nine points respectively.

HL-O/F 12 32 — 44

H-BC 42 23 — 65

Murray County Central 84, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 83

Panthers' superstar guard Trevor Smith scored 41 points, including two free throws with 21 seconds to play that gave his team the lead.

At the other end Aidan Dierks misfired on a 3-pointer from the corner as a large crowd roared and the clock ticked below 10 seconds. But MCC got a second chance when Hudson Schryvers fought hard for the rebound and dished to Dierks for a long mulligan from the right wing.

Nothing but net.

"The first one was short, but I knew that second one was going to go," Dierks said with a grin. "I just released it quick. I do it all the time in practice and I knew that thing was going in."

There were still 2.6 seconds left, and T-M-B's Smith got off a heave from just beyond half court that banged off the backboard. It was a rare miss for the Panthers' junior guard, who averages 26 ppg and last week set a new T-M-B school record with a 51-point performance.

The Rebels, seeded fifth in 3A South, improved to 15-12 overall after rallying from a 16-point deficit in the first half. The fourth-seeded Panthers (17-10) led by six with 3:15 to play but couldn't quite hang on.

"Today we just weren't going to give it up and I'm very proud of them," said MCC coach Tim Cariveau, whose team lost by seven in Tracy earlier this season.

Bryce Hoekman, MCC's superb 6-foot-9-inch senior center, had 27 points and Dierks scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half. Seniors Carter Lewis and Ross Engelkes combined for 18 and the Rebels, who shot 19-for-27 from the floor in the final 18 minutes, advanced to a 3A South semifinal on Thursday night at 6 against Hills-Beaver Creek.

Schryvers tossed in a pair of 3-pointers and had the big offensive rebound late. The Rebel bench played a key role, too, as Gavin Gillette and Owen Gillette scored some clutch points.

"The guys who came in off the bench, they committed to this team really well and we believe in them, all the way down," Dierks said.

Cariveau said it was needed.

"It was a team effort and that's what it took to beat a fantastic Tracy team," Cariveau said. "They don't deserve to lose. They played really well."

Smith turned in an amazing performance. He threw in 25 points in the first half as the Panthers took an 11-point lead to the locker room. The tremendous all-around athlete filled up the stat sheet with several rebounds, steals and assists. He was 5-for-17 from beyond the 3-point arc; several of his splashes were from NBA range.

"I don't know what to say about him. He's unbelievable," Cariveau said.

Junior guard Alex Munson scored 13 points and sophomore guard Griffin Zick added nine for the Panthers. Forward Brian Erbes, one of the team's only seniors, had 11 points.

For sure, the Panthers will be a tough team to deal with next winter.

"That doesn't make us feel any better right now," said T-M-B coach Ryan Kruse. "But yes, we'll have a lot of players back. We hope to learn from this moving forward."

The Panthers used a 15-2 run in the first half to open up a double-digit lead. Smith's 25-foot trey started the flurry and his layup off a steal capped it. The Panthers' pesky full court pressure and collapsing zone around Hoekman in the half court was effective.

"We got off to such a good start," Kruse said.

But the Rebels wouldn't go away.

"It was a battle," Kruse said. "We knew that was going to be the case going in. They just made one more play than we did."

The Rebels outscored T-M-B 16-3 early in the second half to get back in the game. Though MCC took several slim leads in the final eight minutes, Smith or Munson quickly answered each time.

The Panthers led 81-75 with 3:15 to play. Then Hoekman scored off an offensive rebound, and Dierks got free in the lane for a deuce on the next possession. Moments later, the ever-improving Hoekman scored with a nifty move in the lane and the game was tied with 90 seconds remaining.

Smith's two free throws were money with 21 seconds left as T-M-B took one last lead before Dierks put a punctuation mark on the story.

T-M-B 46 37 — 83

MCC 35 40 — 84

Southwest Minnesota Christian 81, Westbrook-Walnut Grove 57

It was a solid start-to-finish performance from the Southwest Minnesota Christian Eagles as they defeated Westbrook-Walnut Grove Chargers by 24 points to advance to the South subsection semifinals.

The No. 2 seed Eagles (18-8) and the No. 7 seed Chargers (6-22) were meeting in the section playoffs for the eighth time in the last nine years. On Saturday, SWC earned its third victory this season over the Chargers, having defeated them by 15 points and 17 points respectively in the previous two contests.

The first string of points of the game were all scored from behind the arc as SWC opened a 6-0 lead of treys from Ryan Pap and Caden Sas before W-WG responded with a trey from Neil Kuehl.

The next several minutes of the half continued to be close as both teams traded turnovers and buckets. With 10:13 left in the opening half, W-WG junior Hudeson Jenniges tied the game at 12 with a 3-pointer before Gavin Rieck immediately responded for SWC with a 3-pointer of his own.

That opened a 13-0 run for the Eagles, off turnovers and aggressive drives to the basket, over the next five minutes to take a 25-12 lead.

A trey from Kuehl at around the five minute mark finally ended that run for the Chargers, but SWC remained in control for the rest of the first half as the Eagles took a 36-22 halftime lead.

It was a balanced first half performance from the Eagles as they were able to drive to the hoop and make shots from the outside, along with aggressive shot blocking and forcing turnovers on the defensive end.

The second half started with a tough jumper from Westbrook's Kevin Curry before Pap scored SWC's first points on a 3-pointer, just like he did in the first half.

At the 15 minute mark, W-WG's Drew Swanson scored five straight points to cut his team's deficit to eight points at 39-31. The Eagles responded and stretched the lead to 14 at 47-33 aided by treys from Trevin Prins and Rieck.

W-WG again tried to trim its deficit, getting to within 10 points before the Eagles stormed further ahead with seven straight points.

Also highlighted during that stretch was an emphatic chase down block from Sas as SWC's defensive effort continued to make an impact.

The Eagles continued to stretch their lead as a 3-pointer from Prins pushed it past 20 points at 61-39 with 6:23 left. Prins took over in the second half with a mix of shots from the inside and outside. He finished with a game high 23 points in the game and four made 3-pointers.

After that second half flurry from Prins, the Chargers couldn't get any closer than 16 points a couple of times as the Eagles comfortably walked away with the victory in the end.

Senior Aidan Schaap finished with 17 points in the contest for SWC, while Rieck added eight points, senior Grant Busker seven and Sas five.

For the Chargers, Kuehl led in scoring with 17 points on four 3-pointers, Jenniges added 15 points, Swanson 10 and Curry seven.

The Eagles move on to the Section 3A South semifinals for the sixth straight year where they'll face Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, a team they beat twice in the regular season. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Worthington.

W-WG 22 35 — 57

SWC 36 45 — 81

Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 73, Red Rock Central 62

The final matchup of "Super Saturday" featured No. 3 seed and defending Class A state champ Russell-Tyler-Ruthton and No. 6 seed Red Rock Central.

The end result was a 73-62 triumph for the Knights (20-7) over the Falcons (12-15).

RRC scored the first three points of the game as R-T-R's second leading scorer Chase Christianson picked up two fouls less than a minute into the game. The two teams traded blows for most of the first half as they each held slim leads for brief moments.

At the 7:34 mark, the game was tied at 16 before the Knights responded with an 8-0 run off a couple of turnovers to storm ahead 24-16 with around six minutes left. That helped set the tone for R-T-R to later take a 38-28 lead into halftime.

The Knights opened the second half on an 8-1 run to open their lead up to 17 points at 46-29. A few possessions later, they extended their lead past 20 points at 52-31 with 12:27 left.

A few minutes later with just under 9:30 to go, R-T-R took its biggest lead of the game at 28 points with the score 61-33. For the rest of the game, the Falcons tried to cut into the Knights' lead.

RRC was able to cut the deficit to nine points at 71-62 with 49.3 seconds left, but the initial 28 point deficit was too much to overcome in the end before the eventual 11 point loss.

Over the final nine and a half minutes of the game, RRC outscored R-T-R 29-12.

Leading the charge for the Knights was Drew Werkman with a game high 23 points, including 11 of the team's first 20 points in the first half. Blake Christianson and Carson Gylling each added 13 points for R-T-R and Andrew Meyers had nine.

The Knights are once again into the semifinals of the South subsection and there they'll face familiar Red Rock Conference foe Southwest Minnesota Christian Thursday. R-T-R defeated SWC 98-57 in the South subsection title game in its run to state last year.

RRC 28 34 — 62

R-T-R 38 35 — 73