Canby boys take Section 3A opener

Photo by Emily Daniels Canby’s Ethan Thovson tries to drive around a MACCRAY during Thursday night’s Section 3A Tournament game. Canby defeated MACCRAY 73-54.

CANBY – The Canby boys basketball team found the spark early on in the game that they needed to come out on top over the MACCRAY Wolverines in the first round of the Section 3A tournament.

With just a 10-point lead the Lancers had over the Wolverines after the first half, the game could have gone either way. But it was Canby that used its home court to their advantage to come out with a 73-54 win.

Playing more mentally tough for the full game was one of the things that helped the Lancers to the win and coach Zach Traphagen saw that throughout the entirety of the game.

“The sustained effort was big. We talked about being amore mentally tough team and putting together a full 36 minute game, and that’s something that we haven’t done all year and I thought this is about as close as we’ve come,” said Traphagen. “Good things happen when the kids have that sustained effort and that toughness and our guys showed it tonight.”

Both teams started out the first half ready to go, with the Wolverines stepping up first and taking a 2-0 lead within the first few moments of the game. Canby responded to MACCRAY’s lead with a 3-pointer from Ethan Thovson, which put the Lancers up 3-2.

The Wolverines responded to Canby taking the lead by putting up a 3-pointer that put MACCRAY back on top, but that didn’t stop the Lancers from fighting their way back on top, with the help of the aggressive and dominant pressure that Canby was playing on defense, the Lancers were able to find themselves with the ball on their offensive side more than enough times and that led to another Thovson 3-pointer which put the Lancers back in the lead 8-5 with 15:09 remaining on the clock.

Canby’s hustle and efficiency on the offensive end mirrored the way that they were working on the defensive end as well, the Lancers fought for every possession of the ball whenever they got the chance which gave them dominance on the floor. The Lancers strong rebounds were a big asset for them as it helped guide them to go on a 10-point run, giving them a 17-9 lead with 10:11 left on the clock. MACCRAY saw a drought of its shots not finding any connection but found a spark when they started to close the gap on the Lancers, 19-15 with 8:30 remaining on the clock.

Jacob Crowser was one of the Lancers that showed his strengths under the basket on the offensive end, making every move and shot count, he helped grow the Lancers lead to 21-15 with just under 7 minutes remaining in the first half. Just like the beginning of the half, the remainder of the time for the Lancers was a breeze, with the score getting as close as a four point gap but Canby held on to its 37-27 lead, ending the half going on an eight point run.

The mindset of MACCRAY seemed to change as they came into the second half with a lot of energy and determination, but Canby continued to show its dominance on the floor and pulled away with a 12-point lead at 42-31 with 14:04 on the clock.

Not much changed for the Lancers from the first half as far as rebounds go and they showed that by being aggressive under the basket. Canby saw a lot of chances for shots around the arc and in the paint but couldn’t find the connection that they were looking for, until a big 3-pointer for Zach Durfee put the Lancers up with a 46-33 lead.

The lead got into Canby’s head for a few minutes on the defensive end which led to some unneccessary fouls, sending the Wolverines to the line more than they were hoping to, but they quickly cleaned up their defense and found themselves growing their lead even more when they started to see MACCRAY’s offense fall apart.

With the Lancers leading the Wolverines at 50-36, their was some room for slowing the ball down and making clean passes and efficient plays and that showed in Canby players Zach Durfee and Blake Mercer who held their own on the offensive end, they both showed signs of not slowing down and being as aggressive as they could to finish out the last 5 minutes that were on the clock. MACCRAY found a spark and closed the gap to six points but couldn’t finish out the half on top, which led to the Lancers walking away with the 73-54 win to advance to the next round of the Section 3A tournament.

Durfee finished the night on top for the Lancers racking in a total of 35 points and following him was Riley Kockelman with 14. Durfee also contributed Canby’s only block of the night. The Lancers shot 23 of 53 for total shots and 24 of 35 at the free-throw line.

Coming off the win and going forward into their next game against Minneota, Traphagen knows that there is still some work to be done and a lot of things that can be taken away from the game against MACCRAY.

“If we can take anything away from tonights game it would be the added confidence and knowing that we can play a full 36 minutes of hardwork, effort and that toughness,” said Traphagen. “Hopefully we see a lot of that on Saturday as well.”

The Lancers will play the Minneota Vikings on Saturday at Montevideo at 11 a.m.