The Minnewaska Area boys basketball team had its season end with a 65-38 loss at Morris Area-CA, Saturday night, during the opening round of the Section 3AA Boys Basketball Tourney.  

The Lakers, who trailed 26-12 at halftime before being outscored 39-26 in the second half, made 27 of their 38 points from three-point land with Hunter Kloos hitting four 3-pointers and Alex Panitzke adding three.

The Lakers were seeded eighth of eight teams in their half of the section while the Tigers came in as the top seed.  Morris Area moved on to play in the Section 3AA quarterfinals, Thursday, March 9 at a neutral site.  

The sub-section championship game is set for 8 p.m., Saturday, March 11 at SMSU in Marshall and the Section 3AA championship is 5 p.m., Thursday, March 16 at SMSU.

The Lakers also played their final two regular-season games last week, losing at home to Melrose Area last Monday, 69-53, and to Osakis at home last Tuesday, 66-46.

Minnewaska Area, coached by Hunter Salathe, ended the season with a 1-25 overall record, which included an 0-14 mark in the conference.

The only victory for the Lakers this year was a 67-45 victory against Hope Academy during the Howard Lake-WW Holiday Tourney, Dec. 28.

•  Sauk Centre won this year’s WCC title with an 12-2 league mark, followed by West Central Area (10-4), Morris Area (9-4), Melrose Area (9-5), BOLD (7-6), Montevideo (6-8), Benson (2-12) and Minnewaska Area (0-14).

Jackson County Central (14-8), Pipestone Area (12-10), Windom Area (16-9) and Luverne (12-10) were the top four seeds and the only teams with winning records in the other half of the section.  Section 3AA uses a coaches’ vote to determine the seedings.

Seniors lost to graduation from this year’s team are Paul Johnson, Jr., James Ward, Noah Palmer and Hunter Kloos.

Melrose 69, Minnewaska 53

The Lakers opened up a busy week of basketball with a 69-53 home loss to Melrose Area last Monday night.  Minnewaska Area trailed 38-27 by halftime before being outscored 31-26 in the second half.

Three players scored in double figures for the Dutchmen, including Connor Anderson with 19 and Gor Ruey with 12.  Melrose Area improved to 14-9 overall with its latest win.

Three players also scored in double figures for the Lakers.  PJ Johnson led the way, going 6-for-14 from the field on the way to 12 points, three assists and three steals.  Adding 11 points each were Hunter Kloos and Marc Gruber with Kloos adding three assists, two rebounds and three steals, and Gruber also pulling down two boards and recording two steals.

The Lakers shot 36 percent from the field (21-for-58).  Minnewaska Area shot half of its field goal attempt from long range, going 8-of-29 on three-pointers (27 percent).

Minnewaska, which was 3-of-6 from the line, also got six points and team-highs of four assists and seven rebounds from Dylan Alexander, five points each from James Ward and Ryland Martin, two points and five rebounds from Tenzin Dahl, and one point and two rebounds from Zachary Palmer.

Osakis 66, Waska 46

The Lakers were held under 50 points for the 12th time in 25 games during a 66-46 loss to Osakis last Tuesday night at home.

Minnewaska Area trailed 36-18 after a low-scoring first half before keeping pace with the Silverstreaks for most of the second half.

Three players accounted for 42 of the team’s 46 points as Hunter Kloos ended the game with a game-high 21 points, while PJ Johnson added 11 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals, and Tenzin Dahl had 10 points and two assists.

Those three went a combined 16-for-40 from the field, while the rest of the team was 2-of-16.

Overall, the Lakers shot 32 percent from the field (18-for-56), including 6-of-24 from three-point range.  Minnewaska was also 4-of-8 from the line and turned the ball over 12 times.

Also scoring for the Lakers were Marc Gruber with two points and Dylan Alexander with two points, three assists, two steals and a team-high six rebounds, while Alex Panitzke had two steals and James Ward had two assists and four boards.

Morris 65, Waska 38

The Lakers were held to just 12 first-half points on the way to a 65-38 loss at Morris Area-CA during the opening round of the Section 3AA Boys Basketball Tourney.

A shot by Hunter Kloos and a free-throw by Tenzin Dahl were the only points for the Lakers through the game’s first 12 minutes as Minnewaska Area found itself trailing 24-6 before Alex Panitzke found a rhythm beyond the 3-point arc, hitting the first of three first-half 3-pointers that kept the Lakers in the game.

He hit two-straight to close the gap to 24-9 and then hit another before the first-half buzzer to pull the Lakers to within 26-12 at halftime.

The Tigers came out very aggressive in the second half, outscoring the Lakers early 19-2 as Marc Gruber’s basket at the 14:31 mark were the only points for Minnewaska early in the second half.

Kloos hit a 3-pointer with 10:20 left in the game to cut the deficit to 45-17.  Morris had its largest lead of the night at 50-17 moments later before Minnewaska outscored the Tigers 21-15 the rest of the way.

Kloos hit three more three-pointers and two free-throws the rest of the way, while Dahl and Noah Palmer both had 3-pointers, and Panitzke and Dylan Alexander also had baskets for the Lakers in their final game of the season.

Kloos, one of four seniors lost to graduation from this year’s Minnewaska team, led the Lakers with 16 points and two steals, while Panitzke added 11 points and three boards. Minnewaska, which shot 40 percent from the field (13-for-32), also got four points from Dahl, three points from Palmer, two points and two assists from Gruber and two points, four assists and a team-high five rebounds from Alexander.

The Lakers got off just 32 field-goal attempts against the smothering Tiger defense and also recorded just 11 rebounds.

Three Tigers scored in double figures, including Riley Asmus with 14 points.

Melrose 69, at Waska 53

Melrose (14-9) 38 31 — 69

Minnewaska (1-23) 27 26 — 53

WASKA stats:  PJ Johnson 12, Hunter Kloos 11, Marc Gruber 11, Dylan Alexander 6, Ryland Martin 5, James Ward 5, Tenzin Dahl 2, Zachary Palmer 1 . . . Rebounding:  Alexander 7, Dahl 5, Kloos 2, Palmer 2, Gruber 2 . . . Assists:  Alexander 4, Kloos 3, Johnson 3 . . . Steals: Johnson 3, Kloos 3, Gruber 2

MEL stats:   Scoring:   Connor Anderson 19, Gor Ruey 12, Connor Engelmeyer 11, Devin Orbeck 6, Samuel Wehlage 6 . . . Other stats not available


Osakis 66, at Waska 46

Osakis 36 30 — 66

Minnewaska (1-24) 18 28 — 46

WASKA stats:  18-56 FG (6-24 3pt); 4-8 FT; 14 assists; 19 rebounds; 7 steals; 11 fouls . . . Scoring:   Hunter Kloos 21, PJ Johnson 11, Tenzin Dahl 10, Dylan Alexander 2, Marc Gruber 2 . . . Rebounding:  Alexander 6, James Ward 4, Johnson 4 . . Assists:  Johnson 4, Alexander 3, Ward 2, Alex Panitzke 2, Dahl 2 . . . Steals:  Alexander 2, Panitzke 2, Johnson 2

OSAKIS stats:   Scoring:   Mages 17, Jones 13, Mages 11, Hoelscher 9 . . . Other stats NA


Section 3AA Tourney

at Morris-CA 65, Waska 38

Minnewaska (1-25) 12 26 — 38

Morris (20-6) 26 39 — 65

WASKA stats:  13-32 FG (9-21 3pt); 3-6 FT; 12 assists; 11 rebounds; 4 steals; 9 fouls; 16 turnovers . . . Scoring:   Hunter Kloos 16, Alex Panitzke 11, Tenzin Dahl 4, Noah Palmer 3, Dylan Alexander 2, Marc Gruber 2 . . . Rebounding:  Alexander 5, Panitzke 3 . . Assists:  Alexander 4, Gruber 2 . . . Steals:  Kloos 2

MORRIS:   Scoring:   Riley Asmus 14, Owen Anderson 11, Tyler Berlinger 11, Hueber 6, Stock 6 . . . Other stats NA

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