Fifth-seeded Hinckley-Finlayson took command late in the first half on the way to eliminating Mahnomen-Waubun 88-66 in the Minnesota State Class A boys basketball consolation semifinals at Concordia University in St. Paul Friday, March 23.
The Thunderbirds held the lead for the opening five minutes of play, but the Jaguars used the three-point line to take over.
Reuben Gibbs hit a three to give the Jaguars their first lead of 16-15 and Hinckley-Finlayson did not relinquish the advantage on the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.
Dion Bower got the T-Birds to within a point three times on a 7-0 run by himself sinking two free throws, a three-pointer and a field goal in answer to Jaguar buckets on the other end to keep the Thunderbirds in a tight game trailing 23-22.
The Jags continued to sink baskets from long range. Anders Prater hit a three to ignite a big 33-13 run to put Hinckley-Finlayson up comfortably 56-35 at halftime.
Both teams shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half: M-W 13-26 and H-F 20 of 40. The Jags were equally effective from the arc sinking eight of 16 three-point attempts while the T-Birds made only two of eight (25 percent) for an 18-point differential from long range.
Both Parker Syverson and Treston Spalla picked up three fouls in the first half forcing the Thunderbirds to go deeper into the bench than they have in the postseason.
The Jaguars pushed their lead to 30 points in the second half and the reserve players took over for the starters as the clock wound down.
The Jaguars had five players score in double figures led by Prater’s 16 points. Travis Visser recorded a double-double scoring 12 points and pulling down 19 rebounds.
Bower, the lone starting senior for the T-Birds, finished his career with a team-high 13 points on 50 percent shooting in 28 minutes played. Jayden Heisler scored 12 points.
Section 6A champions have struggled to pick up victories at state the past three seasons having lost the last seven games. Lake Park-Audubon was 0-3 in two trips 2016-2017. Battle Lake lost two straight after recording the last victory by a 6A school in a quarterfinal victory over Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City in 2015.
Hinckley-Finlayson improved to 26-5 overall and advanced to the consolation championship game. Mahnomen-Waubun finished the season at 18-13.
MW 35 31 - 66
HF 56 32 - 88
MW - Dion Bower 13, Jayden Heisler 12, Logan Pazdernik 9, Treston Spalla 8, Parker Syverson 8, Payton Keezer 4, Tanner Pazdernik 3, Dan Snetsinger 3, Will Bly 2, Trenten Johnson 2, Jon Starkey 2.
HF-Anders Prater 16, Trevor Johnson 15, Kolten Furey 13, Reuben Gibbs 12, Travis Visser 12, Lavone Kroschel 9, Chayne Dunkley 6, Kyle Taggart 3, Johnny Kordiak 2.