Boys Basketball: Double overtime thriller puts Upsala in sub-section championship

Sports Editor
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Reigning section champion Upsala was not about to relinquish its title without a fight, Saturday, going to double overtime in its Sub-Section 5A West semifinal against Eagle Valley at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.

It turns out, it won’t have to for at least another game, as the Cardinals outlasted the Rebels 90-84 to keep its postseason dreams alive.

The young Upsala roster was led by the sophomore duo of Dylan Zimmerman and Christian Pekarek in the win.

Zimmerman netted 21 points and hauled in 12 rebounds for a double-double, while Pekarek had 20 points, six rebounds and five steals.

Juniors Garrett Wolf (17) and Avery Smieja (10) also reached double figures and combined for 15 rebounds.

Juniors Matt Abeler (9) and Eric Frieler (8), senior Thomas Ripplinger (3) and junior Andy Nelson (2) also provided scoring for the Cardinals.

Upsala led 39-34 at halftime before Eagle Valley rallied to tie the score at 74-74 at the end of regulation.

Each team scored only three points in the first overtime before the Cardinals outscored the Rebels 13-7 in the second extra session to notch the hard-fought victory.

Upsala will now advance to take on seventh-ranked Browerville in Tuesday’s sub-section championship.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School.

The Tigers topped the Cardinals 64-35 early in the season, but the margin tightened to 65-60 in their second meeting, Feb. 3.


Upsala 90, Eagle Valley 84 (2 OT)

Eagle Valley  34 40 3  7  – 84
Upsala          39 35 3 13 – 90

Upsala—Dylan Zimmerman, 21 (12 rebounds); Christian Pekarek, 20 (6 rebounds, 5 steals); Garrett Wolf, 17 (7 rebounds); Avery Smieja, 10 (8 rebounds); Matt Abeler, 9; Eric Frieler, 8 (3 steals); Thomas Ripplinger, 3; Andy Nelson, 2.