Boys' basketball: State-ranked Tigers topple Knights in OTWest Central Area defeated Minnewaska to reach the Section 6AA quarterfinals
Taking on the No. 9 ranked team is never an easy task, and when that meeting comes in the section quarterfinals, it doesn’t get any easier.
But the West Central Area Knights gave it everything they had Saturday night, and took Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta down to the wire and beyond, falling 63-59 in overtime of the Section 6AA-West semifinal game at the University of Minnesota-Morris.
“We had a great game plan and the kids executed it right down to the wire,” said Knight head coach Kraig Hunter. “Both teams made so many good plays, but Morris just made one more play.
“It was a fun atmosphere to play in and a great game for all basketball fans,” he added. “It is tough to do so many things right and to get so close, but we have had a successful season and the entire season has been such a joy with this group of kids.”
The Knights trailed by four at the half, but came out strong in the second half, taking a lead with four minutes remaining.
Both teams traded baskets through those final moments, but Tiger Lincoln Arnold, who was fouled on a rebound attempt, hit one shot with 9.6 seconds remaining to tie the game and send it to overtime.
There, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta hit eight of their 14 free throw attempts to pull away for a 63-59 win.
The Knights finished the season with a 15-11 record.
“We will definitely miss each of our five seniors – Bryan Barrera, Devin Brakken, Bryce Olson, Logan Pfingsten and Sam Richards,” said Hunter. “Their enthusiastic personalities are what really gave us such great chemistry and made every day so fun.
“I know our coaching staff, entire school and community are very proud of the way they have represented us all year.”
Sam Richards once again led the Knights with a double-double 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Beau Kashmark added his own double-double effort with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Logan Pfingsten had 10 points.
For the Tigers, Lincoln Arnold had 18 points and Cory Hennen 15.
West Central (15-11) 21 27 11 — 59
Morris (25-2) 25 23 15 — 63
WEST CENTRAL AREA – Sam Richards 23, Beau Kashmark 12, Logan Pfingsten 10, Colton Blasyck 4, Bryce Olson 8, Christian Hammer 2. Field goals 22-60; 3-pt 4-22 (Pfingsten 1, Kashmark 1, Olson 2); Free throws 11-22; Rebounds 36 rebounds (Kashmark 13, Richards 11); Fouls 22, Assists – Pfingsten 3, Turnovers 12.
FINAL RECORD – 15-11.
WCA 67, Minnewaska 55
West Central Area wasted no time asserting itself in a match-up of the four and five seeds in the Section 6AA boys’ basketball tournament on Thursday night.
The Knights never trailed on Minnewaska’s home court as they cruised to a 67-55 win over the Lakers. Their balanced attack was too much for the Lakers to keep up with.
Sam Richards dominated the interior at times with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Beau Kashmark was all over the court with 16 points, eight rebounds, seven blocked shots and three assists. Colton Blasyck and Bryce Olson had 14 and 12 points, respectively, while Logan Pfingsten led the attack with eight assists.
“Our defense was definitely good tonight,” head coach Kraig Hunter said. “I thought the keys to the game were, number one, holding them to one shot as we did not give up many offensive rebounds at all, and number two, our point guard, Logan Pfingsten, knowing when to push the ball and when to get us into our set offense. Logan had eight assists versus only one turnover.”
The Knights were in complete control in the opening half. Kashmark hit a three that forced the Lakers to call a timeout to try to stop the bleeding after WCA pushed its lead to double digits. It did not help much as the Knights extended that lead to 17 by halftime.
The Lakers made a couple runs in the second. They got it as close as eight with about five minutes left. That was the closest they would get though, as West Central Area converted some clutch free throws and took advantage of some easy opportunities down the stretch.
West Central Area was physical down low to win the battle of the boards. The Knights outrebounded the Lakers 35-30. Shane Bosek did most of the work on the glass for Minnewaska. He finished with a quiet 15 points to go along with 13 rebounds.
WEST CENTRAL AREA 37 30 – 67
MINNEWASKA 20 35 – 55
WEST CENTRAL AREA LEADERS – Sam Richards – 16 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists; Beau Kashmark – 16 points, 8 rebounds, 7 blocks, 3 assists; Colton Blasyck – 14 points; Bryce Olson – 12 points, 3 steals; Logan Pfingsten – 8 assists
MINNEWASKA LEADERS – Mike Whittemore – 6 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound, 3 steals, 2 blocks; Brady Johnsrud – 14 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals; Ryan Kleven – 1 rebound, 2 assists; Shane Bosek – 15 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block; Ben Peters – 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block; Cory Holten – 3 points, 1 assist; Jake Mikkelson – 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists; Trenton Berg – 2 points, 1 rebound; Taylor Kollman – 1 rebound