Section 5A Boys Basketball: Upsala, Royalton exhibit sturdy defense to advance to second round
By PATRICK SLACK
5A West: #1 Upsala 60, #8 Bertha-Hewitt 20
Bertha-Hewitt tried to stall as long as possible, taking as much time as it could on each possession before taking a shot.
But the eighth-seeded Bears couldn’t hide forever from top-seeded Upsala, as the host Cardinals powered their way to a 60-20 win, Thursday.
Junior Christian Pekarek shot 8-of-12 from the field to finish with a game-high 22 points, followed by junior Dylan Zimmerman with eight and seniors Nick Frieler, Avery Smieja and Garrett Wolf with six apiece.
Smieja also grabbed 10 rebounds and senior Eric Frieler distributed three assists.
The Cardinals’ defense stymied Bertha-Hewitt throughout, holding the Bears to 11 points in the first half and just nine in the second.
5A East: #6 Royalton 49, #3 Isle 40
Royalton entered as the lower seed.
But after defeating third-seeded Isle in the regular season, it didn’t seem as if the sixth-seeded Royals would actually be underdogs when the teams took the court, Thursday.
Sure enough, visiting Royalton made life difficult from the opening tip, holding the Huskies to 13 first-half points on its way to a 49-40 victory in the Sub-Section 5A East quarterfinals.
Senior Luke Wentland poured in 24 points to lead the Royals.
Junior Jesse Popp followed with eight rebounds and seven rebounds and senior Matt Silbernick collected six points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Senior Justin Opatz produced seven points and seniors Lucas Snyder and Ethan Zimny each chipped in two.
5A West: #4 Nevis 81, #5 Swanville 62
Senior Austin Mollner scored 17 points and senior Colten Kruzel added 15, but Swanville couldn’t overcome host Nevis in its playoff opener, Thursday, falling 81-62.
Sophomore Jordan Sales made an impact at both ends of the floor with nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, with senior Zach Holtz picking up six points, junior Cody Mollner scoring five and senior Trevor Loxterkamp contributing four.
Swanville finished the season with a record of 15-8.
Seniors on this year’s team included Kruzel, Austin Mollner, Tren Dinius, Holtz and Loxterkamp.