MARSHALL - The Dawson-Boyd boys basketball team did just what it needed to against Southwest Minnesota Christian in the first half of the Section 3A championship game.
But the second half was not as kind to the Blackjacks, who fell to the Eagles, 57-48, on Thursday at the R/A Facility at Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall.
D-B and SWC faced off in the section championship game a year ago with the Eagles taking a 73-55 win, but the Blackjacks had a plan for this round.
Photo by Alex Oey
Dawson-Boyd’s Joey Lee drives
toward the basket while SWC’s Nate Pfeifle goes for the ball during the second half of the Section 3A championship game
"We certainly didn't want a repeat of what happened last year," said DB head coach Cory Larson. "They are a team that's noted for getting off to quick starts and we wanted those first four or five minutes, to not let them into a rhythm.
"If you allow them to play with high energy, they are tough to beat."
The Blackjacks started off strong, taking their first lead of the night 7-4 off a Michael Lee three-pointer at 14:30.
"We came out in a triangle-two defense and tried to catch them off guard," said Michael Lee. "We were moving the ball pretty well on the offensive side of things."
D-B led by as many as seven, but the Eagles slowly worked their way back into the game, regaining the lead 17-16 on a Nate Pfeifle three-pointer at 5:12.
"We tried making them work for every bucket that they scored," said SWC head coach Jamie Pap. "
SWC was able to extend its lead slightly before the half, and the Eagles took a 24-21 advantage into the half.
"It was pretty big to have the lead," Pap said. "We didn't think we played very well in the first half."
"It was a low-scoring game, kind of where we wanted it to be," Larson said. "Even though we are a team that likes quick possessions and likes to push the ball, I didn't want the game to be in the 70s. Defensively we did a good enough job."
The Eagles came out of the locker room flying in the second half, going on a 9-2 run in the first 2:49 of the second half, taking a 10-point lead 33-23.
The SWC lead reached as many as 11 points after a Klint Knutson three-pointer, but Nathaniel Huot answered right back for the Blackjacks to get it back to an eight-point game.
"In the second half we got pretty good looks against a fairly good defense," Larson said. "You're not going to get too many of those against a team like Southwest Minnesota Christian. We just didn't knock them down."
With the Eagles lead sitting at 10 and time winding down, Joey Lee, who led the Blackjacks with 15 points, took over the next two SWC possessions, coming away with a pair of baskets off of steals to make it a 47-41 game with 4:51 on the clock.
"We were trying to step it up a bit, get up and pressure the ball more," said Joey Lee. "They don't float many passes, but they had a couple I was able to get to, finish on the other end and get us a little closer."
D-B was able to keep the lead under double digits as the second half progressed thanks to a pair of free throws from Michael Lee, who had 14 points in the game, but a fortunate foul would allow the Blackjacks to cut the Eagle lead to four.
Huot put up a three-pointer from the left side, and though he missed, a SWC player fouled him, sending him to the line.
"I was thinking if I can make all three of these, it's a two-possession game," Huot said. "I had better step up and make these.
Huot, who had 11 points on the night, sank all three to make it a two possession game, 50-46, with 1:49 left.
"That was tough. We work on that in practice," said Pap. "But it's a tough play. You want the guys to close out hard. Let's make them earn it at the stripe."
But D-B was unable to get any closer, sending the Eagles to the line twice in the final 18 seconds in an effort to regain possession.
"They have a great coaching staff and a great team," said Pap. "I have so much respect for them. It's great going back, but it's hard not seeing Dawson-Boyd go, too."
"Huot has been a big part of our program the last four years. You hate to see him go," said Larson. "But at the same time we bring back everybody else. You can't be satisfied. Those kids have to stay hungry and stay focused on getting better in the next eight months."
Nathaniel Huot 3 3-3 11, Jess Hansen 1 0-0 2, Joey Lee 6 3-4 15, Kyler Collins 2 1-2 6, Michael Lee 5 3-5 14. Totals 17 10-14 48 Three-Pointers 4 (Huot 2, Collins 1, M. Lee 1) Rebounds 31 (M. Lee 12, Huot 7) Assists 10 (J. Lee 4, M. Lee 3) Steals 7 (J. Lee 4) Blocks 2 (J. Lee 1, M. Lee 1) Fouls 14 Turnovers 18.
Clayton Huisken 1 3-4 6, Nate Pfeifle 5 0-0 12, Klint Knutson 1 7-8 10, Dominic Nibbelink 1 0-2 2, Eric Talsma 5 1-2 11, Leighton Sampson 7 2-4 16. Totals 20 13-20 57 Three-Pointers 4 (Pfeifle 2, Knutson 1, Huisken 1) Rebounds 35 (Talsma 12) Assists 12 (Knutson 5) Steals 8 (Pfeifle 3, Knutson 3) Fouls 12 Turnovers 11.
Halftime score: SWC 24, D-B 21.
MARSHALL - Alec Koster scored 20 points to lift Redwood Valley (24-5) to a 72-53 win over Fairmont (23-6) in the Class 3AA finals Thursday at SMSU.