MARSHALL - Against Southwest Minnesota Christian, the Dawson-Boyd boys basketball team had two objectives.
Limit the Eagles success from in the lane and behind the arc.
"We wanted to try to contain (Zach) Huisken and (Andrew) Top," said D-B head coach Cory Larson. "I thought we did a nice job. They did a better job of having their other role players knocking down shots for them."
Photo by Alex Oey
Dawson-Boyd’s Jack Hansen, right, runs into a Southwest Minnesota Christian defender in the first half of Thursday’s Section 3A championship game at the R/A Facility in Marshall.
The Eagles had other ideas, though.
The Blackjacks found themselves down 10-0 less than four minutes into their game against Southwest Minnesota Christian, and were unable to put together the runs they needed, falling one step short of the state tournament in a 73-55 loss to the Eagles.
"We were thinking we had a shot," said D-B's Jack Hansen. "We thought we could keep up with them. They are a really tough team. Every time we made a shot, they answered right back."
Southwest Minnesota Christian (73)
Klint Knutson 2 0-0 4, Andrew Top 4 2-2 10, Dominic Nibbelink 5 0-0 12, Keeran Sampson 5 0-0 13, Damon Vander Maten 2 0-0 5, Leighton Sampson 0 0-2 0, Zach Huisken 9 0-0 18. Totals 32 3-7 73. Three-Pointers 6 (Sampson 3, Nibbelink 2, Vander Maten 1) Rebounds 32 (Huisken 13) Assists 12 (Huisken 5) Steals 7 (Nibbelink 3, Talsma 3) Blocks 1 (Sampson) Turnovers 13 Total Fouls 9.
Nathaniel Huot 7 3-3 19, Zach Stelter 1 0-0 2, Joey Lee 5 0-1 11, Josh Wager 1 0-0 3, Evan Robertson 2 2-2 6, Michael Lee 1 0-0 2, Jack Hansen 4 1-2 12. Totals 21 6-10 55. Three-Pointers 7 (Hansen 3, Huot 2, Wager 1, J. Lee 1) Rebounds 18 (Robertson 6) Assists 10 (J. Lee 5) Steals 8 (Wager 2, Hansen 2) Blocks 1 (Huot) Turnovers 9 Total Fouls 8.
Halftime Score: SWC 43, D-B 28.
Larson added, "It was a Southwest Christian team that came out with the right amount of intensity, the necessary intensity. They did a nice job defensively of not allowing us to get into a rhythm. We knew easy baskets were going to come at a premium."
The clock was at 14 minutes, 40 seconds before Evan Robertson hit the first shot for the Blackjacks (26-3 overall) to make it a 10-2 game.
"We've been down before," said D-B's Nathaniel Huot. "We've been down early and we knew we could fight back. We kept trying to break through, but we just couldn't get it done."
The Blackjacks went on a 10-4 run, taking advantage of seven points from Huot, two from Zach Stelter and a free throw from Hansen, cutting the lead to four. But that was as close as they would get.
"We were sinking our shots and getting soft on D," Hansen said. "But after a little while they just started kicking in again. We started turning the ball over more."
SWC, which had five players in double figures, rebuilt its lead quickly. The Eagles (26-1) went up by as many as 18 with the score 36-18, but took a 15-point lead into the half after Joey Lee hit a jumper from the lane as time expired.
"We were telling them don't let up," said SWC head coach Jamie Pap. "I've seen so many times where teams have 15-point leads going into halftime and the other team hits a couple buckets in the second half."
Huot opened the second half with a jumper, cutting the lead to 13, but the Eagles worked the ball around and were able to get it in low to Zach Huisken, who had 12 of his 18 points in the second half.
The Eagles took their largest lead of the game, 69-38, with just over eight minutes left to play.
But D-B refused to shut down.
"That's the character of the kids," Larson said. "Never wanting to give up. We take the philosophy that you're going to go down fighting."
The Blackjacks scored 17 points down the stretch to cut the lead to 18 with just over 90 seconds left in the game, but were unable to go further in the loss.
"The way I look at it, we went one more game," Huot said. "My freshman year we almost made the sub-section (championship), last year we made the sub-section (championship) and this year we got to the section game.
"Hopefully next year we can finish it out. All of this experience will help next year."