BLUE EARTH - The Blue Earth Area boys basketball team formulated a comeback late in the second half to help the Bucs get within single digits of the Jackson County Central Huskies on Monday night in Blue Earth.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, outscoring the Huskies 39-35 in the second half did not add up to a win as the Huskies took the 71-61 nonconference victory.
"Jackson (County Central) is playing really well right now. They have a well-rounded team and they have been making great strides here late in the season," said Blue Earth Area head coach Seth Anderson. "I think they are definitely going to be a team to be reckoned with in the (Section 3AA, South) sub-section."
TIED UP — Blue Earth Area’s Quinn Huisman (35) ties up Jackson County Central’s Darnell Taylor-Breck to force a jumpball situation during nonconference basketball action Monday night in Blue Earth. Jackson County Central’s Brady Place (33), along with Blue Earth Area’s Derek Johnson (11), Kellen Jacobs (55) and Bailey Olson, watch the action. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
With just over two minutes left in regulation, the Huskies held firmly to a 67-53 lead, thanks in part to senior center Jon Harmening's game-high 26 points and 12 boards.
The Bucs found an offensive spark in the final 120 seconds though, with Conor Barnett swishing a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut the Huskies' lead to 67-56.
On the ensuing Husky possession, Blue Earth Area's Brandon Olson pocketed his lone steal of the game and quickly spotted teammate Calvin Sanders on the wing for 3 to make it 67-59 with 1:45 left.
The Huskies' Brady Place was then fouled on the next possession, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one situation.
Kellen Jacobs, who scored 12 points for the Bucs, grabbed one of his four rebounds off the missed charity toss and Barnett set up the Buc offense.
Barnett, who scored 11 points in the game, missed a 3, but Quinn Huisman grabbed the carom for one of his six rebounds.
Huisman, who scored seven points in the game, then spun and dished a pass to Jacobs for a jumper in the lane to make it 67-61 with just over 1:10 left.
"Kellen Jacobs has been playing some really good basketball for us the last couple games," said Anderson. "I think we always thought he had the skills to play well, but didn't always get the minutes with (senior center Luke) Monson in the game. But he has really stepped up and tonight he had a good game."
Zach Schwarting, who scored 14 points for the Huskies, tried to stop the Bucs' momentum by driving to the basket as the clock neared the one-minute mark.
For the third time in the final minutes, Jacobs stepped up big by taking a charge on the Schwarting layup attempt to give the Bucs the ball and trailing by just six.
Unfortunately for the home team, Harmening pocketed a steal as the Bucs brought the ball down the floor and as he caught the pass ahead, Schwarting was fouled.
The Husky junior guard swished both free throws to make it 69-61 with 35 seconds remaining. JCC teammate Brady Place, who scored five points in the game, swished a baseline jumper in the final seconds to clinch the 10-point victory.
The Bucs jumped out to an 8-5 lead early in the game, thanks to a pair of 3s from Bailey Olson and Huisman, along with a jumper inside the arc from Barnett.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, Darnell Taylor-Breck scored nine of his 12 points for the Huskies in the first half to help them take a 14-point lead - 36-22 - into halftime.
"I thought that early on we hit some 3s, kept ourselves in the game and kept us excited," said Anderson. "But then their different zone presses and a few different defenses they had gave us trouble."
Bailey Olson finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds for Blue Earth Area, while Derek Johnson swished five 3s on his way to a team-leading 16 points.
Blue Earth Area (9-14, 4-6 South Central) travels to Luverne tonight for a 7:30 p.m. nonconference game against the Cardinals.
Jackson County Central (16-8) plays host to Spirit Lake, Iowa, in a 7:30 p.m. nonconference game tonight in Jackson.
Schwarting 5-12 2-2 14, Harmening 8-10 10-11 26, Taylor-Breck 4-9 2-2 12, Place 2-10 1-2 5, Behrends 2-4 0-1 4, Timmer 2-3 0-0 5, Brinkman 0-0 1-2 1, Scott 0-0 1-2 1, Hesse 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 24-49 17-22 71
Barnett 4-9 2-2 11, Johnson 5-19 1-2 16, Bailey Olson 4-8 0-0 10, Huisman 3-8 0-0 7, Jacobs 5-12 2-4 12, Sanders 1-3 0-0 3, Brandon Olson 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 23-62 5-8 61.
3-pointers: Jackson County Central 6-20 (Schwarting 2-6, Taylor-Breck 2-6, Place 0-5, Timmer 1-2, Hesse 1-1); Blue Earth Area 10-30 (Barnett 1-4, Johnson 5-16, Bailey Olson 2-3, Huisman 1-3, Sanders 1-3, Brandon Olson 0-1). Rebounds: Jackson County Central 30 (Harmening 12, Place and Behrends 5 each); Blue Earth Area 29 (Bailey Olson 10, Huisman 6). Fouled out: Barnett. Steals: Blue Earth Area 12 (Barnett and Jacobs 4 each); Jackson County Central 7 (Schwarting 5).
North Union 69, Corwith-Wesley-Luverne 48 - Alex Krantz and Aric Runge packed a potent 1-2 scoring punch to guide the Warriors to a 21-point triumph over the Panthers during first-round Iowa Class 1A, District 3 playoff action Monday night in Buffalo Center, Iowa.
North Union (5-18) advances to face Belmond-Klemme (18-3) in the district quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night at Bishop Garrigan High School in Algona, Iowa.
Belmond-Klemme earned an opening-round bye in the postseason.
Corwith-Wesley-Luverne ended its season with a 5-15 record.
Krantz produced a game-leading 24 points, including five 3-pointers, while Runge contributed 22 points to the Warriors' winning ways.
Krantz delivered 15 points during the first half to help North Union build a 28-18 lead by intermission. Runge then poured in 14 points during second-half action to help the green-and-white seal its postseason victory.
Jacob Braddock scored six of his nine points during the Warriors' 19-point fourth quarter, while Colin Runksmeier chipped in six points.
Jared Haler netted 18 points, including 16 during the second half, to top CWL, while teammate Esden Carroll contributed 14 points.
CWL 8-10-17-13 - 48
NU 12-16-22-19 - 69