Early run lifts Rebels past Bucs

Published 10:54 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Southland's Nick Schmitz is fouled by Blue Earth Area's Brandyn Olsen while going up for a lay-up in the first half of their Section 2A - South Division tournament game Tuesday night in Adams. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

ADAMS — The Southland boys basketball team dominated Blue Earth for an eight-minute stretch in the first half and that was enough for them to get past the No. 5 seeded Bucs (7-17 overall) 65-49 in a Section 2AA quarterfinal game in Adams Tuesday.

The No. 4 seeded Rebels (18-9 overall) trailed 12-11 when they cranked up their defense and produced a 20-2 spurt that saw them take a 31-14 lead with 1:25 left in the first half.

Southland's Michael Goergen goes over Blue Earth Area's Steven Plocker for two during the first half of their Section 2A - South Division tournament game Tuesday night in Adams. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“I think we just got our legs underneath us,” said Southland forward Mike Goergen, who finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. “It’s been a long break. The adrenaline was there for the playoffs, but getting into the flow again took a little while.”

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Decker Bendtsen started the rally with a three-pointer and he also had a three-point play in the middle of the run. The junior guard finished with 18 points, five assists, three rebounds and four steals.

“I just got my shot down and they were going in tonight,” Bendtsen said. “Mike draws a lot of defenders inside and we got a lot of open looks.”

The Rebels scored the first seven points of the second half to go up 40-19 as Nick Schmitz hit a three and Goergen scored inside twice. But Blue Earth kept the game from getting out of hand as Dallas Barslou found his outside shot en route to knocking down six threes and scoring 24 points.

“The (20-2) run was great, but our problem is we take ourselves out of it as much as we put ourselves into it,” Southland head coach Jon Thalberg said. “Our team is capable of making those big runs, but it’s frustrating to see us take ourselves out of it.”

Thalberg did like what he saw out of Bendtsen, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

“The last month or so, Decker’s taken a new level to himself,” Thalberg said. “He’s been a team leader and his defense has been phenomenal.”

Southland will play at top-seeded Hayfield (21-5 overall) Thursday at 7 p.m. The Vikings won the first matchup 71-68 in Hayfield Feb. 4.

“They’re going to do the exact same stuff and we’re going to do the exact same stuff,” Thalberg said. “Unfortunately they won the first one and hopefully it’s going to be us in this one. It’s going to be a fun game.”

Southland's Jake Frodl looks to pass during the first half of the Rebels' Section 2A - South Division tournament game against Blue Earth Area in Adams Tuesday night. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The winner of Thursday’s game will play the winner of Maple River and United South Central in Mankato Monday at 8 p.m.

BE 18 31 — 49

Southland 33 32 — 65

Southland scoring: Mike Goergen, 23; Decker Bendtsen, 18; Nick Schmitz, 13; Jake Frodl, 6; Sam Klaehn, 3; free throws: 65 percent (15-for-23); rebounds: 29 (Goergen, 10); turnovers: 14

BE scoring: Dallas Barslou, 24; Isaac Darington, 7; Brandyn Olsen, 6; Sam Lee, 4; Jake Wagner, 4; Logan Jacobs, 2; free throws: 54 percent (7-for-13); rebounds: 22; turnovers: 15