Awesome Blossoms punch their ticket to Civic Center

Published 9:39 pm Thursday, March 1, 2018

LEROY — The first time the Blooming Prairie boys basketball team played against LeRoy-Ostrander, it couldn’t stop the Cardinals’ go-to scorers down the stretch in a loss. This time around, the No. 8 seeded Awesome Blossoms were able to clamp down on the No. 8 Cardinals as they won 63-48 in a Section 1A tournament game in LeRoy Thursday.

BP (13-10 overall) held LO’s top scorers Trey Hungerholt and Seth Royston to a combined four points in the first half as they jumped out a 26-12 lead at the break. BP led by as 27 points in the second half before Hungerholt, who finished with 19 points, was able to find his rhythm.

Blooming Prairie’s Jake Ressler blocks a shot by LeRoy-Ostrander’s Riley Olson during the first half of a Section 1A playoff game Thursday night in LeRoy. Eric Johnson/

“The boys played a great game. They really bought into what we were trying to defensively,” BP head coach Nate Piller said. “ They knew Hungerholt and Royston are hard to hold down. They set a lot screens for Hungerholt and we’re tried to do everything to not let him score. He still had a solid game by anyone’s standards, but we didn’t allow Royston to hit any threes.”

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Jake Ressler patrolled the paint for BP as he scored four points, pulled down 16 boards and blocked six shots. He came out with a sense of motivation, knowing his season and his high school basketball career were on the line.

“It was good to come in and get a win. We had a nice crowd here and that was nice. Their fans were loud and rowdy too and that made it a little tough,” Ressler said. “In a season where we’ve lost a lot of tight games, probably more than our share, we talked about making this a new season to make things right.”

LeRoy-Ostrander’s Seth Royston shoots over Blooming Prairie’s Karson Vigeland during the first half of a Section 1A quarterfinal game Thursday in LeRoy. Eric Johnson/

BP sophomore Kaden Thomas led the early charge for BP as he scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half. He and the Awesome Blossoms will now take on top-seeded Rushford-Peterson in a Section 1A quarterfinal in Mayo Civic Center in Rochester at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“We needed to stop them on defense first of all, and we had to run our offense,” Thomas said. “We knew this could be our last game with the seniors. We wanted to keep going and we’re super excited to play in Civic Center.”

Riley Olson had 13 points and eight rebounds in the loss for LO (19-8 overall).

LeRoy-Ostrander’s Trey Hungerholt comes off the corner during the first half against Blooming Prairie in a Section 1A playoff game Thursday night in LeRoy. Eric Johnson/

BP 26  37    63

LO 12  36    48

BP scoring: Kaden Thomas, 17; Trent Swenson, 14; Karson Vigeland, 14; Max Romeo, 8; Gabe Hegna, 6; Cameron Kubista, 4; Jake Ressler, 4; free throws: 75 percent (3-for-4); rebounds: 43 (Ressler, 16); turnovers: 20

LO scoring: Trey Hungerholt, 19; Riley Olson, 13; Seth Royston, 6; Sean Lohuis, 5; Carter Johnson, 3; Kolton Arndorfer, 2; free throws: 71 percent (10-for-14); rebounds: 34 (Royston, 12); turnovers: 18

LeRoy-Ostrander’s Riley Olson takes a contested shot against Blooming Prairie in the first half of a Section 1A playoff game Thursday night in LeRoy. Eric Johnson/