By PATRICK SLACK
The Upsala boys basketball team threw everything it had at seventh-ranked Browerville in the Sub-Section 5A West finals in Long Prairie, Tuesday.
But in the end, the Tigers were able to execute a little bit better, enabling them to top the Cardinals 52-41.
It appeared Browerville might run away with things early, sprinting out of the gates with an 8-0 run.
Upsala, the reigning section champion, was not about to go away quietly, though, and after trading baskets went on an 8-0 run of its own to tie the score at 10-10.
Following a time out, Browerville slowly rebuilt its lead, closing the first half ahead 32-22.
Unable to penetrate the paint against Browerville’s imposing front court, Upsala was forced to play from the perimeter in the second half.
The Cardinals nearly made it work, hitting six three-point shots in the second half to keep within striking distance.
Upsala pulled within four points twice in the second half, the latest with 4:33 to play on a three by junior Andy Nelson.
But Browerville maintained at least a two-possession lead throughout before clinching the game at the free-throw line.
Sophomore Christian Pekarek provided the bulk of the scoring for the Cardinals, picking up 21 points.
Junior Garrett Wolf had seven points and three assists and juniors Eric Frieler and Andy Nelson each contributed six points.
Juniors Avery Smieja (5) and Nick Frieler (3) and sophomore Dylan Zimmerman (3) also scored.
Upsala finished the season with a record of 19-9 and placed third in the Prairie Conference.
Thomas Ripplinger was the lone senior on this year’s young squad, which included an entirely new starting line-up from last year’s state entrant.
Browerville 62, Upsala 51
Upsala 22 29 – 51
Browerville 32 30 – 62
Upsala—Christian Pekarek, 21 (3 steals); Garrett Wolf, 7 (3 assists); Eric Frieler, 6; Andy Nelson, 6; Avery Smeija, 5; Nick Frieler, 3; Dylan Zimmerman, 3.