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Section 6A-South boys' basketball: Battle Lake ends season for West Central Area

Knight Jay Zimmerman, center, was held to just two points against Battle?Lake Thursday night due to foul trouble, and West Central Area fell to the Battlers in the Section 6A-South playoffs. (Lori Mork, Echo Press)

Battle Lake's free throw shooting down the stretch ended West Central Area's chances of advancing in the Section 6A-South boys' basketball tournament as the Knights fell to the Battlers 67-63 Thursday night.

After trailing 26-20 at the half, West Central Area continued to creep closer to Battle Lake and took a 39-37 lead, but the Battlers went on an 8-2 run and never trailed, securing the win as they hit 23-for-29 from the charity stripe.

"West Central Area could never get the lead back and the Battlers sealed the game from the free throw line, despite some terrific shooting by the Knights down the stretch," said head coach Kraig Hunter.

Knight senior Drew Peterson led his squad in his final game, scoring 20 points and adding eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.

"We are very proud of our kids," said Hunter. "We are especially proud of senior Drew Peterson, as he led us with his heart again tonight like he has all year."

Jay Zimmerman was limited due to foul trouble and was held to just two points. He did add eight rebounds.

"With their size, it really hurt us to get Jay in foul trouble, as he has been a big weapon for us the last half of the year," said the Knight coach.

Both teams shot nearly identical from the field as West Central hit 21-for-51 for 41 percent and Battle Lake was 21-for-50 for 42 percent.

The Knights, however, came up big from long range, hitting 11 of 29 from the three-point mark, while the Battlers were just 2-for 11.

Battle Lake, however, made up for that difference from the free throw line with their 23 successes there, while the Knights were 10-for-15.

"Our coaching staff always asks our players to play hard, smart and together, and we won't ask anything more," said Hunter. "Tonight we couldn't ask for any more. We left everything on the floor and never quit. We played very well, but Battle Lake was just a bit better. They are so long and athletic. They do a good job of contesting shots. This was a fun, intense game that was played extremely hard by both teams.

"They [Knights] have represented us well all year both on and off the court. This group was a joy to coach and with our tough schedule, we had a great year winning 14 games and playing some good, high level basketball."

BATTLE LAKE 67, WEST CENTRAL AREA 63

WEST CENTRAL AREA 20 43 -- 63

BATTLE LAKE 26 41 -- 67

WEST CENTRAL AREA - Drew Peterson 20, Dakotah Kashmark 19, Austin Redepenning 12, Brady Combs 10, Jay Zimmerman 2. Field goals 21-51, 3-pt 11-29, Free throws 10-15, Rebounds 35 (Peterson 8, Kashmark 7, Combs 4, Zimmerman 8, Andrew Lindor 4), Turnovers 16, Assists - Peterson 5, Kashmark 4. Steals - Peterson 2.

BATTLE LAKE - Tony Ukkelberg 23, Dan Marso 13, Tyler Ukkelberg 9, Nick Trosdahl 9, Evan VanErp 6, Petric VanErp 4, Brock Bleichner 3. Field goals 21-50, 3-pt 2-11, free throws 23-29, Rebounds 26, Turnovers 7.

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