Byron knocks off BP boys in sub-section semis

Published 10:45 pm Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Awesome Blossoms boys basketball team couldn’t keep pace with Byron in a 73-63 loss in the sub-section 2AA semifinals in Packer Gym Thursday.

There were 12 lead changes and four ties on the night, but the last time three-seeded BP (20-6 overall) held an advantage was at 45-44 with 11:04 left in the game when Matt Zellmer took a steal and converted it into a three-point play on a breakaway.

Two-seeded Byron (18-8 overall) took over the game down the stretch with it’s dribble penetration as sophomore Evan Morris led the way for the Bears, scoring 17 points and hitting all eight of his second half free throws.

Email newsletter signup

“They just play at such a high tempo with all their ball screens and dribble hand-offs,” BP head coach John Bruns said. “They just turned it up another notch in the second half. Every single one of them can handle the ball and every single one of them can shoot. You can’t cover everything.”

While the Blossoms focused on stopping the dribble drive, Byron also hit seven threes which made it tough for BP to commit to covering the lane.

“When you’ve got guys that can drive like that and they can kick out to guys that our good at shooting threes that’s pretty tough,” BP forward Josh Toquam said. “You don’t want to help off because they’ll have an easy three and if you don’t help off they’ll probably have an easy lay-up.”

Offensively, the Blossoms got a big lift from Zellmer, who scored 25 points and hit four threes while pulling down eight rebounds.

“(Matt) shot the ball real well. I don’t think he took too many shots,” Bruns said. “We just weren’t able to get points from other areas.”

Toquam erupted for 11 first half points as he hit three treys early. But he was held scoreless in the second half.

“I don’t know what happened in the second half. It felt good every time coming off. It was just missing a little deep or a little short,” Toquam said.

BP got as close as 64-59 with 2:27 left in the game after Austin Moe, who had five assists, hit two free throws. But Byron closed out the game at the line.

A hip injury to BP forward Israel Clark slowed down the Blossoms on both sides of the court.

“He’s not full speed and it really shows up on his shot. He’s not even close offensively,” Bruns said. “He did everything he could to get back on the floor and he worked his tail off. He’s a competitor. But he probably fouled out from being a step slow.”

BP led 20-13 with 6:50 left in the first half after a three by Zellmer, but Byron countered with a 12-2 run and BP never led by more than three again.

Byron will play No. 1 seeded Triton in Mankato next Tuesday at 8 p.m.

BP 31 32 — 63

Byron 29 44 — 73

BP scoring: Matt Zellmer, 25; Josh Toquam, 11; Cooper Nelson, 10; Austin Moe, 5; Israel Clark, 4; Josh Johnson, 3; Logan Underwood, 1; free throws: 67 percent (14-for-21); rebounds: 28 (Zellmer, 8); turnovers: 14

Byron scoring: Evan Morris, 17; Zach Southwick, 11; Angel Talamantes, 10; Ross Fuchs, 9; Tyler Krings, 9; Tyler Baumbach, 5; Taylor Kunkel, 3; Miles McNeil, 2; free throws: 70 percent (16-for-23); rebounds: 28 (Morris, 9); turnovers: 12