Rockford Area came away with an 85-67 win to close the regular season.
But Monday’s senior night home game for Pierz was a smashing success as one of its two seniors, Matt Athman, returned to the court.
In front of a crowded audience on “Pack the MAC for Matt” night, Athman was recognized as he comes back from being critically injured in a car accident, Nov. 1, 2013.
“It was an emotional night for the boys,” Pierz head coach Matt Poepping said. “Seeing Matt back on the court and on the bench definitely gave us a lift. I’m really proud of how the players have handled the adversity this year.
“We have made improvements on the court, but more importantly I have seen these boys mature as people and stick behind Matt through everything he has been through,” he said. “That’s a life lesson, and those are the things we’re trying to teach as coaches.”
In the game, Pierz came up with 39 points in a high-scoring first half, but the Rockets gradually upped their seven-point lead at the break for the win.
Sophomore Aaron Weber scored 17 points, junior Robbie Skiba had 15 and sophomores Nick Herold and Jonny Kasper each scored 12 to reach double figures, with sophomore Michael Meyer adding six.
Skiba also pulled down 11 rebounds to record a double-double.
Pierz also fell 83-61 at Braham, Feb. 22.
Skiba had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Herold put in 11 points for the Pioneers.
Meyer and sophomore David Skiba followed with six points apiece, sophomore Noah Boser had five and junior Ethan Lochner scored four.
Kasper passed out four assists.
Section 6AA schedule
Pierz, the fifth seed in Sub-Section 6AA North, was scheduled to open the playoffs at fourth-seeded Staples Motley, Thursday.
With a win, Pierz would advance to take on the winner between top-seeded Sauk Centre and eighth-seeded Osakis in the sub-section semifinals.
In the lower half of the bracket, seventh-seeded Holdingford was scheduled to play at second-seeded Melrose Area, Thursday, with the winner slated to take on the winner between third-seeded Long Prairie-Grey Eagle and sixth-seeded Pillager in the sub-section semifinals.
The sub-section semifinals were played Saturday, March 1, at St. John’s University.
This week, the sub-section championship game will also be held at St. John’s University, Tuesday, with the section finals being held at St. Cloud State University, Friday.