Raiders win back-to-back section championships
Lake Park-Audubon got the start every coach dreams of firing on all cylinders en route to defeating the Ortonville Trojans 86-75 to claim the Raiders’ second straight Section 6A championship Friday night at the University of Minnesota-Morris.
“Sometimes that can be devil’s advocate when you make that big run; you’re not playing a .500 team,” said LP-A head coach Kyle Haberman. “They’ve only lost five games. They could care less how many shots you’re knocking down, but it certainly helps.”
The Raiders surprised nobody going straight to six-foot, 10-inch Jesse Bergh and Bergh delivered eight of LP-A’s first 10 points to jump out in front 10-5.
Ortonville head coach Tim Giese called a timeout and the Trojans went into a sagging defense to stop Bergh.
“They want to take him away; we were going to get 25 out of Jesse,” said Haberman. “He finds a way to score 25. We had to get to 86 tonight and we needed all 86 of them.”
That’s when LP-A erupted from outside.
“It felt really good to go out there and knocked down those shots,” said Mike Vohnoutka. “It looked like their gameplan was to leave me alone and I wasn’t going to end my career not making them pay a little bit.”
Grant Pederson hit threes on back-to-back possessions and was joined by Vohnoutka from outside. Vohnoutka’s second three put LP-A up 30-14 and Pederson’s fifth of the half gave the Raiders a 20-point cushion 36-16 at the eight-minute mark.
“When one goes down, everybody else builds confidence to knock them down and it was a real team effort out there,” said Vohnoutka.
Bergh went to the bench with his second foul four minutes later and the Trojans found some comfort on the offensive end in his absence and made some headway on the scoreboard trailing 44-32 at the break.
Ortonville came out of halftime with steam and began the half on a 6-0 run to pull within six points at 44-38 forcing a Raiders timeout.
The Raiders responded with a 17-8 run to go up 61-46 with 10-minutes, 40-seconds to play.
Pederson was stifled in the second half after picking up his fourth foul with eight minutes to play. He stayed on the bench for only two minutes and played the rest of the game without picking up a fifth.
The Raiders held a double digit lead until late in the game. Ortonville closed to within 13 at 73-60 on a three-pointer by Nate Treinen and 11 points 79-68 on a Tyson Powell triple with two minutes to play.
The Raiders were in the bonus with four minutes to play and scored the majority of their final points from the stripe.
Treinen drilled another three to get within nine points with less than a minute to play but the Raiders held off the Trojans from the free throw line.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling; it feels amazing,” said Pederson.
Bergh led all scorers with 27 points and picked up his habitual double-double with 11 rebounds.
Vohnoutka had a career-high 21 points
“I wanted to leave it all out there on the floor and we did exactly what we came to do and that’s win a section championship,” said Vohnoutka.
Pederson scored 18 points. Hall scored 10 and doubled with 11 boards. The Raiders made 10 threes, led by Pederson’s five and Vohnoutka with four.
Ortonville ends its season with a record of 22-6. The Raiders (22-6) advanced to the Class A state tournament, which begins Thursday, March 23.
“Last year at Williams Arena we were pretty darn freaked out; me included,” said Haberman. “We’re not going to get seeded, but we just have to find a way. Once you get down there, you never know.”
LP-A enters the state tournament unseeded and will face No. 2 Goodhue in a rematch of last year’s state quarterfinal. Goodhue advanced in a 40-37 double-overtime victory over Rushford-Peterson. The game will be played at Williams Arena in Minneapolis at 3 p.m. Thursday.
Last season, Goodhue held the Raiders to a season-low in points scored and the loss snapped a 22-game winning streak in a 54-29 victory. The Wildcats placed second in Class A last year.
ORT 32 — 75
LPA 44 — 86
ORT - Treinen 26, Powell 17, Conroy 11, Edwards 10, Kuechenmeister 7, Welhitz 2, P. Treinen 2.
LPA - Bergh 27, Vohnoutka 21, Pederson 18, Hall 10, Bjerke 5, Raaen 4, Frank 1.