SECTION 3A BOYS BASKETBALL: Dawson-Boyd escapes in overtime thriller against Lac qui Parle Valley

Photo by Jake Przytarski Dawson-Boyd’s Zach Durfee brings the ball upcourt during their Section 3A semifinal game against Lac qui Parle Valley on Monday at Southwest Minnesota State University. Dawson-Boyd defeated LQPV 68-59 in overtime to advance to the Section 3A championship.

MARSHALL – Fresh off an upset victory over the top-seeded Minneota Vikings, the fifth-seed Dawson-Boyd boys basketball team flexed its muscles once more in the semifinals of the Section 3A Tournament with a thrilling 68-59 overtime victory against the No. 2 seed Lac qui Parle Valley Eagles, propelling Dawson-Boyd into the section finals where it will take on the No. 3 seed Westbrook-Walnut Grove Chargers on Thursday.

Much to the delight of the raucous crowd on-hand at the RA facility, the two teams opened the game at a torrid pace with shots falling on both ends of the floor and multiple lead changes taking place before the Blackjacks earned a 15-13 advantage from a Zach Durfee basket. Coming up with an answer on nearly every offensive possession, the Eagles stormed back to take a 20-19 lead following a 3-point play by Maverick Conn.

Down the stretch of the first half, the Eagles and Blackjacks remained step-for-step before Dawson-Boyd pulled ahead after Romell Horton drove to the rim for a pair of contested baskets to give his team a 26-24 lead. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Eagles responded with a made three and a free throw in the final minutes of play to take a 29-27 lead at halftime.

When play commenced it was the Blackjacks’ Bentley Boike, who had been held in check for most of the first half, that provided the early offense as the senior scored the team’s first six points to keep the deficit at three with the score 36-33 in favor of the Eagles.

At the five-minute mark, Dawson-Boyd took its first lead of the second half after Keaton Schuelke drained a 3-pointer and Boike added his eighth point of the half to give the Blackjacks a 40-38 advantage.

Following an Eagles scoring run that saw LQPV pull ahead by six at 50-44, the Blackjacks trimmed the lead back to a pair following baskets by Boike and Horton to make it 50-48. Moments later, Dawson-Boyd knotted the game up once more at 50 thanks to a basket by Jake Lee.

With the clock winding down and only three minutes left to play, the Eagles broke the dead-lock to take a three-point lead but saw it evaporate on the next Dawson-Boyd possession as Durfee drained a clutch 3-point shot to knot the game up at 55 with two minutes left to play.

The score remained 55-55 all the way to the final seven seconds of the game with the Blackjacks inbounding the ball after a timeout in hopes of ending the game in regulation. The inbound pass went to Horton, who, without a lane to shoot, settled for a tough three-pointer that bounced off the backboard and was nearly tipped in by Boike but rattled out to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, Durfee stepped up big once again and scored the team’s first six points – all unanswered – to give the Blackjacks a 61-55 lead. Unwilling to relinquish its hard-earned lead, Dawson-Boyd carried the play all the way to the end to earn a 68-59 victory.

Boike led the way for Dawson-Boyd with 19 points while Durfee added 15, Horton had 14 and Lee had 11. Colton Husby led in rebounds with nine while Horton and Lee led in assists with four each.

With the win, the Blackjacks will battle it out with Westbrook-Walnut Grove in the Section 3A finals for a chance to compete in the Class A State Tournament. Tip-off will be at SMSU on Thursday at 8 p.m.