Jaguars boys' basketball headed to finals!
B-B-E prevails for second time this season over Hancock
Riding a strong second-half performance in Saturday's Sub-Section 6A-South semifinal round game in Morris, the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars came out on top of a 17-win Hancock Owls team to earn their second straight trip to the subsection finals and third in the last four years (13th overall).
Trailing for most of the first half, the Jaguars got key shots from Derek Wiener and Tanner Heinsius in the last 30 seconds. Heinsius knocked down a three-pointer standing three feet beyond the arc with just two seconds on the clock to put the Jaguars ahead 29-27 at the break.
The Owls, riding a four-game winning streak while also winning seven of their last eight contests, tied the game at 29-29 and 31-31 before the Jaguars began pulling away in the second half.
Heinsius and Austin Trustheim heated up the court while fueling a 15-6 run across a five-minute stretch. With 8:40 left, the Jaguars led 46-37. The Pheasant Conference champion Owls (17-7, 6-0) stormed back to get within three, down 48-45, with 3:35 left.
Heinsius and Jacob Tensen then hit key free throws in the final minute to help preserve the lead.
Now 15-12 overall, the Jaguars will have their hands full in the next round of playoffs when they face state-ranked (No. 9 in Class 1A) Battle Lake for the Sub-Section 6A-South crown. The finals will be on Monday night, Feb. 29, at 7 p.m. back at Jim Gremmels Court on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Morris.
Battle Lake defeated fifth-seeded West Central Area 64-52 in the other semifinal game in Morris today. The Battlers are 22-6 overall and have lost just two games since Jan. 8: a 71-49 loss to St. Croix Lutheran on Jan. 30 and then a 44-41 loss to visiting Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Feb. 11.
St. Croix Lutheran is 25-2 overall and the top-ranked (QRF) team in Class 2A. HLA is 26-0 and a favorite to win the Sub-Section 6A-North title and earn a trip to the section finals that are set for March 4 in Moorhead.
Area boys' basketball playoff scores on Feb. 27:
Albany 62, Holdingford 45
Melrose Area 51, Sauk Centre 45
Rockford 71, Eden Valley-Watkins 65 (the Eagles hopes for a state tournament trip are snuffed out by the Wright County West co-champion Rockets)
Annandale 65, Maple Lake 49 (Cardinals are the top seed, while the Irish were the No. 5 seed)
Browerville/Eagle Valley 85, Bertha-Hewitt 52
Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 71, Underwood 55
Braham 84, Pierz 52 (Pioneers were the No. 3 seed; the Bombers are the No. 2 seed)
Swanville 77, Kimball Area 58
Montevideo 65, Minnewaska Area 40 (Sub-Section 3AA-North championship)