By PATRICK SLACK
The Pierz boys basketball team returned to St. John’s University to take on top-seeded Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (LPGE), Tuesday, but couldn’t find the same success it did in its thrilling overtime win over Melrose Area in the semifinals, falling 50-39 in the Sub-Section 6AA North finals.
Pierz started the game strong in the opening half, taking a 23-19 lead into the break.
But the Thunder managed to pick up their offense just enough in the second half while holding off the Pioneers down the stretch for the win.
Senior Preston Weber had 18 points and seven rebounds to cap his career.
Senior Caleb Janson notched a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Juniors Cullin Carter (4), Josh Templin (3) and Jess Kasper (2) also scored.
“This is a very tough loss for us,” Pierz head coach Danny Saehr said. “Unfortunately we just didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, especially in the second half.”
“Long Prairie is very disciplined and controlled the game the last 10 minutes. I’m very proud of the boys for having a very good season and playing their hearts out every game.”
Pierz finished the season with a record of 21-8, including a second-place finish in the Central Minnesota Conference.
Seniors on this year’s team included Weber, Janson, Ben Huffman, Devaunte Stumpf, Cole Reardon, Dylan Smieja, Michael Marshik, Tyler Kieffer, Ian Engen and Logan Meyer.
LPGE 50, Pierz 39
Pierz 23 16 – 39
LPGE 19 31 – 50
Pierz—Preston Weber, 18 (7 rebounds); Caleb Janson, 12 (12 rebounds); Cullin Carter, 4 (3 rebounds); Josh Templin, 3 (6 rebounds); Jess Kasper, 2 (3 rebounds).