The Minnewaska Area boys basketball team closed out the home schedule with a 65-51 loss to Paynesville, Thursday night.  Two nights earlier, the Lakers lost at Melrose Area, 79-53.

Minnewaska Area is set to close out the regular-season, Monday (today) at Osakis before commencing with the Section 3AA Boys Basketball Tournament, Saturday.

The Lakers are seeded eighth in their half of the section and were set to play at top-seeded Eden Valley-Watkins at 7 p.m., Saturday.

With a win, the Lakers would play again Thursday, March 7 at a time and place yet to be determined.

Montevideo (18-6), Paynesville Area (18-5) and Morris Area-CA (17-8) are still battling for the second seed, while NLS (13-10), KMS (15-10) and Litchfield (5-19) will be seeded fifth through seventh.  In the other half of the section, Redwood Valley (20-4) and Jackson County Central (16-7) are the top two teams.

Melrose 79, Waska 53

The Lakers stayed with the Dutchmen for most of the first half before Melrose went on a big run at the end of the first half to take a 39-26 lead.  The Dutchmen continued their strong play in the second half, outscoring the Lakers 40-27 to earn a 79-53 victory during the final WCC game of the season for Minnewaska.

The Lakers ended the conference schedule with a 2-10 overall record, picking up its two WCC wins over Benson, which went 0-12 in conference play.

 The Lakers, who shot 37 percent from the field (20-for-54), were led in scoring by Tenzin Dahl and Connor Frey.  Frey went 4-of-8 from three-point range to total 12 points, while Dahl, who was 4-of-14 from the field, also had 12 points to go along with two steals.

Marc Gruber went 3-of-5 from long range on the way to nine points and three boards, while Owen Meulebroeck had a strong overall game with eight points, two assists and a team-high seven rebounds.

“We led the game for about the first 10-12 minutes of action,” Minnewaska head coach Zach Traphagen said.  “Melrose then went on a big scoring run right before halftime and carried their stretch of hot shooting into the second half.”

Luke Danielson added six points and three boards for the Lakers, while Alex Panitzke had three points, three assists and three rebounds, and Jack Majerus had three points.

Coach Traphagen was pleased with the early play of the Lakers, but said his team needs to play more consistently from start to finish.

“We have to do a better job of stopping the bleeding when teams go on runs like the last two games have gone. There were some nice positives to take from this game, but we need to start defending better more consistently.”

Paynesville 65, Waska 51

The Bulldogs went on an early run to start the game and the Lakers had to battle the rest of the game, eventually losing 65-51.

The Lakers, who fell to 2-23 overall, led early 4-3, before Paynesville went on a 15-0 run to go up 18-4.  Connor Frey finally stopped the streak with a 3-pointer for the Lakers.

Marc Gruber and Tenzin Dahl combined for eight of the next nine points as Minnewaska Area stayed close at 29-16 before Alex Panitzke hit a 3-pointer and then assisted on a shot by Jack Majerus, who made one-of-two free-throws before the halftime buzzer to pull the Lakers to within 33-22.

Minnewaska continued its strong play in the second half as Panitzke went on to go 5-of-7 from three-point range for 15 points, five assists and three steals, and Dahl added 10 points, two assists and seven rebounds.

The Lakers, who shot 42 percent from the field (20-for-47), got the deficit down to two points midway through the second half, but were unable to take the lead, eventually losing by 14, 65-51.

“We’re extremely proud of the effort the boys showed tonight against a very good Paynesville team,” coach Traphagen said.  We fell behind 18-4 early, but just kept chipping away and got it down to a two-point game with about eight minutes to play.”

Frey ended the game with nine points, while Marc Gruber had four points and two steals, Austin Ballhagen, Levi Johnson and Majerus all had three points, Dylan Alexander had two points, five assists, four boards and two steals, and Owen Meulebroeck also had two points to go along with three rebounds and two steals.

“Our guys played physical, did a great job of closing out on their shooters after a hot start, and made some big shots to get us back into the ball game,” Traphagen said.  “We fell short on the scoreboard in the end, but we have a lot of positives to take away from this game. It was a great way for these seniors to finish their final game on our home court.”

at Melrose 79, Waska 53

Waska (2-22) 26 27 — 53

Melrose 39 40 — 79

WASKA stats:  20-54 FG (9-26 3pt); 4-8 FT; 17 assists; 21 rebounds; 5 steals; 10 fouls; 10 turnovers . . . Scoring:   Connor Frey 12, Tenzin Dahl 12, Marc Gruber 9, Owen Meulebroeck 8, Luke Danielson 6, Jack Majerus 3, Alex Panitzke 3 . . . Rebounding:  Meulebroeck 7, Dylan Alexander 3, Danielson 3, Panitzke 3 . . . Assists:  Alexander 5, Panitzke 3, Austin Ballhagen 2, Levi Johnson 2, Meulebroeck 2 . . . Steals:  Dahl 2

MEL stats:   Stats not available


Paynes 65, at Waska 51

Paynesville 33 32 — 65

Waska (2-23) 22 29 — 51

WASKA stats:  20-47 FG (9-25 3pt); 2-6 FT; 16 assists; 21 rebounds; 8 steals; 13 fouls; 16 turnovers . . . Scoring:   Alex Panitzke 15, Tenzin Dahl 10, Connor Frey 9, Marc Gruber 4, Austin Ballhagen 3, Levi Johnson 3, Jack Majerus 3, Owen Meuelebroeck 2, Dylan Alexander 2 . . . Rebounding:  Dahl 7, Alexander 4, Panitzke 3, Meulebroeck 3, Gruber 2. . . Assists:  Alexander 5, Panitzke 5, Johnson 2, Dahl 2. . . Steals: Gruber 2, Alexander 2, Meulebroeck 2

PAYNES stats:   Stats not available

Check out more photos in our photo gallery!