LP-GE 50, Pierz 39
The key: The Thunder outscored the Pioneers 31-16 in the second half.
Overall: LP-GE 25-2, Pierz finishes 21-8
Next: Long Prairie-Grey Eagle vs. Litchfield, Section 6-2A championship
game, St. Cloud State University, 6:30 p.m. Friday.
AREA BOYS BASKETBALL
LP-GE thunders back to beat Pioneers for subsection title
By MIKE BIALKA
COLLEGEVILLE — For most of Tuesday’s night’s North Subsection 6-2A
championship game the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle did not look like the
But the Thunder remained patient, seized the lead in the game’s final three
minutes, and rallied for a 50-39 win over the third-seeded Pierz Pioneers in
the North Subsection 6-2A championship game at St. John’s University.
After scoring the game’s first three points the Thunder trailed until tying
it 37-37 with 3:22 remaininmh. Then they embarked on a 13-2 run to end the
“That’s been our deal all year,” LP-GE coach Bruce Young said. “We’re giving
up about 48 points a game this year ... We did that last year but last year
we were big. This year we’re little.
“Everybody knows how Bruce Young plays. I’ve been playing it for 37 years.
We don’t fool anybody. We just play.”
The Thunder, ranked eighth in Class 2A, scored the game’s last 11 points at
the foul line. They finished 17 of 22 at the line.
After a laborious first half, during which they shot just 30 percent, LP-GE
slowed the pace in the second, waiting for layups and an occasional three.
The Thunder made 9 of 17 tries from the field in the second.
Austin Kaiser led the Thunder with 16 points. Only three other Thunder
scored, led by Cody Sprenger’s 12 and Duane Miller’s 11. Miller added 11 rebounds and Kaiser 10.
Pierz experienced just as much shooting difficulty. The Pioneers finished
the game sinking only 16 of 59 shots (27 percent). After leading 23-19 at
the half, Pierz got outscored 31-16 in the second.
“We just missed shots,” said Pierz senior Preston Weber, who led the
Pioneers with 18 points. “We missed shots we usually make. Once we got down,
they’re pretty good at stalling and they slowed the game down. It was tough
to get back once we got down.”
Caleb Janson added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Pierz, which led 30-22 in the second. LP-GE
went on a 7-point run before eventually tying it.
“I thought the first three minutes of the second half was the biggest
thing,” Pierz coach Dan Saehr said. “We had a lot of good looks. We had four
trips in a row where we had a layup down low and unfortunately we didn’t
finish. Last Saturday against Melrose we made all those shots, tonight we
“We weren’t surprised. We knew what they were going to do,. They were going
to play a 2-3 (zone) no matter what. We just didn’t shoot. We were 4 for 27
from three. We’ve shot about 30-35 percent all year.”
The Thunder, who have won 12 of their last 13, struggled to find the basket
in the first half but so did Pierz. The Pioneers shot just 33 percent (9 of
27) against LP-GE’s zone and the Thunder were 6 of 20 (30 percent) against
the Pioneers’ smothering man-to-man.
After falling behind 3-0, the Pioneers reeled off 10 straight points. Their
6-point run late in the half put them up 21-12 before the Thunder outscored
Pierz 7-2 in the final 4-plus minutes.
Weber, one of just four Pioneers to score in the first, made his first three
shots and finished the half with 14 points.
“We didn’t lose because of a lack of effort or preparation on the kids’
part,” Saehr said. “We just lost to a team that shot better than we did
Pierz 23 16 — 39
Long Prairie-GE 19 31 — 50
Josh Templin 3, Jess Kasper 2, Preston Weber 18, Caleb Janson 12, Logan
Meyer 0, Mitch Bednar 4.FG 16-59 (27 percent). FT 3-5. 3-point baskets:
4-27. Turnovers: 4.
LONG PRAIRIE-GREY EAGLE
Duane Miller 11, Austin Kaiser 16, Travis Bergmann 0, Stanley Harvey 0, Cody
Sprenger 12, Dylan Warner 4, Tommy Geisenhof 7. FG 15-37 (41 percent). FT
17-22. 3-point baskets: .3-7 Turnovers: 8.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at