Subsection finals are nothing new to the Pierz Pioneers, who are just two years removed from their last one.
Thankfully, this time they aren't playing the best Class 2A team in the state.
Pierz will, however, play fellow Central Minnesota Conference opponent Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted for the Subsection 18, Section 5-2A title Tuesday.
Michael Weber leads Pierz with 18.7 points and 10.4 rebounds a game.
The Lakers (20-7) split with Pierz during the regular season, beating the Pioneers Feb. 21 at Pierz 60-51 and falling to the Pioneers six days later 82-76 at Howard Lake.
No. 1 Pierz Pioneers vs.
No. 2 Howard Lake-Waverly Lakers
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Dassel-Cokato High School
What: Subsection 18, Section 5-2A final
At stake: Trip to Section 5-2A final against Sibley East/Norwood-Young America winner
Pierz keys: Communication on defense. We play a lot better when we're communicating where the shooters are and when to step in and help on a drive to the basket. We need to attack the basket and get the ball inside.
- Pierz head coach Kurt Stumpf.
"They have two primary scorers in Nash Faulk, who averages about 20 points a game, and Jeff Hammer, who scores around 15 points a game," said Pierz coach Kurt Stumpf. "They rely on those two for their scoring.
"We just need to make sure we contest shots. A lot of their other guys will shoot a lot of threes so we need to make sure we contest those shots."
Pierz is only outshooting opponents 43.4 percent to 42.7 from the field, but teams have shot better from 3-point than the Pioneers (30.3 to 26.7).
That hasn't stopped Pierz (21-6) from winning 14 of its last 15 games, including seven straight.
"I would say we're playing pretty well," said Stumpf. "Against Cathedral we missed some shots and didn't shoot well from behind the arc. Then we found ourselves in a tight game. With Michael Weber in foul trouble, we had some other guys make some big shots in the second half and then Tyler Monson took over for us."
Weber is leading Pierz with 18.7 points and 10.4 rebounds a game. Monson is adding 14.8 points and 4.8 rebounds and Breck Weber is averaging 11.0 points and 5.7 rebounds. Mark Eno has dished out a team-high 55 assists to go with 8.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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