SHERBURN - After falling behind 7-4 to the No. 7-seeded Pipestone Area Arrows in the first five minutes of Saturday night's basketball playoff game, No. 2 seed Martin County West's pressure defense and balanced offense attack kicked in.
The Mavericks took over the lead and went on to hold off the Arrows, 75-56, in a Section 3AA, South Sub-Section quarterfinal in Sherburn.
Martin County West (20-5) advances to face No. 3-seeded Worthington in the South Sub-Section semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Windom. The Trojans (16-8) advanced by defeating Windom, 71-60.
DRIVING — Pipestone Area guard Boyer Bouman (right) drives against Martin County West guard Mitch Sitzmann during Section 3AA, South Sub-Section quarterfinal basketball action on Saturday night in Sherburn. Martin County West’s Cordell Weber (back middle), along with Pipestone Area’s Brady Claussen (24) and Andrew Berg (14), look on. Photo by Leanna Becker
Pipestone Area finished its season with a 6-18 record.
The Mavericks' offensive surge featured four players scoring in double digits during the opening half. Cordell Weber and Austin Krumwiede each netted 13 points in the first 18 minutes to help the home team go on a 19-3 scoring run after falling behind early. Kyle Brolsma and Mitch Sitzmann finished the game with 13 and 11 points, respectively, for MCW.
"Having a balanced offensive attack is always a good thing," said Maverick head coach Cliff Anderson. "I think we came out with some nerves and they were able to jump on us early."
Collin Moeller got the Arrows on the board first and teammates Justin Rops and Dominic Freese scored on back-to-back baskets to take the three-point lead.
Rops took a feed from the wing for a layup to make it 4-4 before Freese swished a 3 from the corner to give the Arrows an edge.
Junior Jake Faber was able to get some offense going for the Mavericks by sinking a 3 from the wing for the first of his seven points in the game.
Sitzmann snared an errant Arrows' pass, for one of his five steals, and snapped a bounce pass to Krumwiede on the fast break for the reverse layup to make it 19-8 in the Mavericks' favor with less than 8 minutes to play before half.
Sitzmann's second steal of the game led to another Maverick fastbreak basket as he sent it ahead to Weber for two of his game-high 24 points to make it 23-10 in MCW's favor.
Weber then picked Arrow guard Boyer Bouman's pocket for a steal and drove the length of the court to extend the lead to 29-14 with 3 minutes remaining.
The Mavericks stampeded to a 10-2 scoring run during the first three minutes of the second half to take a 43-20 lead.
From there, MCW depended on its free throw shooting, making 26 of 35 attempts in the second half after going a perfect 7-for-7 in the first half.
"I thought tonight's game was the most physical game that we've played all year. We shot 42 free throws and made 33 of them. We held our composure and that was great," said Anderson. "It wasn't a pretty victory, but we advance, so it got the job done."
Moeller led the Arrows with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Krumwiede finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for the Mavericks, while Brolsma pulled down five and Weber snagged four boards.