Things could not have started much worse for the West Central Area boys basketball team on Thursday night in its Section 6A playoff opener, but they couldn’t have ended much better either.
The Knights (14-4) fell behind 20-10 after Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (8-10) hit its first eight shots, including four triples. West Central Area outscored the Warriors 60-33 the rest of the way to secure a 70-53 win.
“One big difference was that we got outrebounded 11-4 in the first half and we outrebounded them 20-10 in the second half,” WCA head coach Kraig Hunter said. “We were able to get nine offensive boards in the second half and forced more turnovers, giving us 11 more shot attempts than the Warriors.”
Senior forward Brady Reeve had a huge game with 29 points and eight rebounds. Fellow senior Tate Christenson added 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and four steals.
“Our seniors played outstanding,” Hunter said. “Tate Christenson impacted the game in many areas and kept us alive in the first half and Brady Reeve did a lot of damage in the second half. They locked down on Grant (Beuckens) and he played very unselfish finding the open man and led us in assists. If teams lock down on Grant, we have a lot of other guys that can score. Ryder Staples was an offensive factor at different moments all throughout the game and our other guys have all been scoring and hitting open shots in the past three weeks. Having all of these threats has made us tough to defend down the stretch this year."
The Knights will need everyone on board in their next game as they travel to Ashby on Saturday night at 7. The South’s top-seeded Arrows are 19-0 after beating Brandon-Evansville on Thursday in their playoff opener.
West Central Area played Ashby to a three-point game in the season opener on Jan. 18.
WEST CENTRAL AREA 32 38 - 70
WHEATON-H-N 30 23 - 53
TOTALS - WCA - FG - 26-49; Three-point FG - 9-17; FT - 9-12; Rebounds - 24; WHN - FG - 20-38; Three-point FG - 8-20; FT - 5-6; Rebounds - 21
WCA - Brady Reeve - 29 points, 8 rebounds; Tate Christenson - 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals; Ryder Staples - 12 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds; Grant Beuckens - 6 points, 5 assists, 1 steal; Jacob Strunk - 4 points, 2 assists; Cole Anderson - 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist; Xander Bontjes - 2 rebounds
WHN SCORING - Clint Determan - 17; Andrew Walker - 13; Grant Dawson - 9; Dylan Bainbridge - 7; Caden Spilde - 3; Brayden Hoffer - 2; Zach Braaten - 2
Section 6A boys basketball playoff scores from Thursday, March 18
(Stats not available)
Parkers Prairie (15-4) 78, Battle Lake (6-12) 62
Hancock (14-5) 68, Ortonville (3-15) 44
Mahnomen-Waubun (19-0) 84, Park Christian (3-17) 32
Hillcrest Lutheran (12-6) 68, Rothsay (8-11) 53
New York Mills (16-2) 61, NCE-U-H (4-12) 48
Henning (14-5) 62, Lake Park-Audubon (7-11) 40