The final round is set at the ‘B’, and the final was set up by a pair of vastly different games.
In Friday’s first semifinal, defending champion White River escaped an upset bid by fifth-seeded Menno 34-30. Menno came into the tournament averaging 68.4 a game, White River 76.
If Menno can catch just one more break in the final minutes, it might have been a different story. There were two block-charge calls in the last four minutes, one with Menno on offense, one with White River on offense. Menno’s had a basket waived off, and the Wolves had a put-back waived off on an over-the-back call. White River’s was called a block, and the Tigers put in a three-point play to take the lead for good.
Of course, you can’t blame the refs. The Wolves missed a two-foot shot and a front end of a one-and-one in the closing seconds and down two.
The second semifinal was a completely different story, as in Sully Buttes scored 30 points in the first quarter. The Chargers, who battled past Viborg 65-62 in the opening round, rolled to a 92-77 victory over Elkton-Lake Benton.
The Chargers and Tigers met during the regular season, with Sully Buttes scoring a 68-60 win. I’ve seen two games for White River and one for Sully Buttes this week, and I would have to give my nod to the defending champs. Game time is 8 p.m.
Menno will have to try to bounce back in the third place game against Elkton-Lake Benton. This veteran Wolves squad, which has seen the emergence of Anthony Cokens this weekend, has a good chance to finish its season on a good note.
In the fifth place game today, we’ll see local teams Avon and Viborg duke it out. Both teams have three seniors, but Avon starts all three of them and Viborg starts none.
Avon got to this point with a 46-40 win over Hitchcock-Tulare. It was a strange game, to say the least, as H-T coach Ken Huether — the architect of that crazy Iroquois football offense a few years back (which he took to H-T for another dome run) — took his leading scorer and positioned him near the half-court line to try to get Avon to drop out of its box-and-one defense. It didn’t work, and Joey Mitchell, who usually averages 14 points a game, finished with four.
Viborg rolled past Herreid 69-47, opening up the game in the second half.
Cory Jacobsen returned to form, scoring 29 points. He had 20 on a rough shooting night Thursday against Sully Buttes.
This game poses an interesting matchup for several reasons, the least of which is that they played during the regular season — before Avon senior Matt Dykstra returned — and Viborg won 71-40.
The teams are contrasts in experience. Avon starts three seniors and two juniors. Viborg starts a junior, three sophs and a freshman.
That experience will be most evident in the post, where Dykstra will match up with Viborg freshman Zach Kraning. Kraning has the size by two inches, but Dykstra has the experience.
The prelim to that contest is Hitchcock-Tulare and Herreid, a noon start. I’d take Herreid if I had to pick, because I don’t think Hitchcock-Tulare has anyone to matchup with Herreid’s Weisbeck brothers, Sheldon and Kyle.