Wolverines edge Jaguars in South Sub-Section hoops game

BREAKING AWAY — Truman/Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain guard Matt Heckman (31) looks to trigger a fastbreak during Section 2A, South Sub-Section quarterfinal basketball action Tuesday night in Mountain Lake. The Jaguars’ Cael Jaskulke (23) and Paxton Gravlin (back left), along with Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey’s Eli Samuelson (20) and Regan Syverson (32), trail the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

MOUNTAIN LAKE — A late run sealed the win for the Wolverines.

No. 3-seeded Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey beat the No. 6-seeded Truman/Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain Jaguars 74-64 in a Section 2A, South Sub-Section quarterfinal Tuesday night in Mountain Lake.

The win puts the Wolverines (23-3) into the sub-section semifinal against No. 2-seeded Springfield at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night in Lake Crystal.

The Jaguars end their season with a record of 15-12.

Jaguar head coach Adam Walker said he was proud of his team’s effort, hanging in with a high seed in the section.

“I couldn’t have been more proud of their effort,” Walker said. “Hanging in with a team like this, nobody had us winning or even staying close, so it’s a testament to how hard they worked. We just came up a few plays short. I couldn’t have asked for a better effort.”

With 9:35 left in the matchup, Owen Wolter was sent to the free throw line where he sank both attempts for two of his co-game-leading 20 points to tie the game at 51.

That’s when the Wolverines went on their final run.

The Wolverines’ Sam Paulson drove through the lane for a layup, and used an assist from Drake Harder for two more points before the Jaguars’ Cael Jaskulke scored off a Matt Heckman assist to bring the Jaguars within 55-53.

Paulson scored four more points, while Lucas Emineth sank a 3 off an assist from Eli Samuelson to put the Wolverines ahead 62-53.

Samuelson turned a rebound into a traditional three-point play and Abraham Stoesz converted a steal into a layup to put the Wolverines ahead 67-56.

The Jaguars would come back within 68-60, but never got closer than eight points during the final five minutes.

Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey head coach Shawn Naas said his team did a better job opening passing lanes in the second half.

“I think we played well, I thought the Jaguars played really well,” Naas said. “They came in with a game plan and took some things away from us. They played well, but we grinded it out and made a couple of runs in the second half that gave us the opportunity to win.

“We passed the ball better, the Jaguars were very aggressive with their length in the first half and they got hands on a lot of balls. We changed a couple things (in the second half) and opened up some passing lanes. The kids were able to make some passes and make some shots.”

After going into halftime tied at 28, the Wolverines stormed out to a 47-40 lead midway through the second period, but the Jaguars were able to climb back to a tie.

Jaskulke started the comeback with a free throw for one of his 11 points, then Wolter drove through the lane for an up-and-under layup off a Jaskulke assist.

Matt Heckman kept the run going with a layup to bring the Jaguars within two. The teams traded 2s to get to 51-49, then Wolter stole a pass and was fouled on the ensuing layup attempt. He sank both attempts at the charity stripe to tie the game at 51.

In the first half, the teams stayed close, with neither building more than a four-point lead.

Wolter led the way with nine of his points, while Isaac Johnson added six points and all six of his rebounds.

Wolter scored the first six Jaguar points and nine of their first 11.

Wolter added five rebounds, four assists and three steals to complement his point total, while Johnson ended with 14 points, six boards and three steals.

Jaskulke totalled 11 points, brought down five rebounds and blocked three shots and both Matt Heckman and Adam Heckman scored five points while Matt Heckman grabbed five rebounds.

Stoesz led the scoring for the Wolverines with 20 points, while adding five rebounds, five steals and four assists. Paulson totalled 19 points and added three rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Samuelson put up 17 points and five rebounds.

With the season over, Walker said he was happy with the season as a whole.

“I think it went very well,” Walker said. “Fifteen wins for a very young and inexperienced team is pretty good. We were very balanced, we didn’t have a 25-point-per-game scorer, I think our highest was 12 and we had a couple of guys around nine and 10. It was a very balanced team and we had a lot of guys who knew their role. Fifteen wins and an over .500 record for a team like this, as well as hanging with a very good team like Mountain Lake, is special.”

TMLG 28-36–64

MLAC 28-46–74


Wolter 7-12 4-5 20, Johnson 5-13 2-2 14, Jaskulke 5-6 1-2 11, M. Heckman 2-9 1-1 5, A. Heckman 1-3 3-4 5, Spear 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 23-53 14-18 64.

MLAC (74)

Stoesz 6-10 5-6 20, Paulson 9-14 1-2 19, Samuelson 7-16 3-4 17, Emineth 4-10 0-0 10, Harder 3-5 0-0 6, Khamvongsa 1-2 0-0 2, Larson 0-0 0-2 0. Totals: 30-57 9-14 74.

3-pointers: TMLGHEC 4-15; MLAC 5-19. Fouled out: Wolter (TMLGHEC). Rebounds: TMLGHEC 23 (Johnson 6, Wolter 5, Jaskulke 5, M. Heckman 5); MLAC 24 (Harder 6, Stoesz 5, Samuelson 5). Assists: TMLGHEC 8 (Wolter 4); MLAC 18 (Harder 6, Stoesz 4). Steals: TMLGHEC 9 (Johnson 3, Wolter 3); MLAC 11 (Sotesz 5, Paulson 3). Blocks: TMLGHEC 5 (Jaskulke 3, A Heckman 2); MLAC 4.