Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial eliminated Montevideo 66-60 in the semifinals of the Section 3AA North tournament last Thursday at Granite Falls.
Although the Knights led from start to finish, the Thunder Hawks stayed within striking distance the entire game. LCWM's biggest lead was 13 points, with three minutes left in the first half.
With senior forward Michael Coates scoring 15 of his game-high 26 points, the Knights led 30-27 at halftime.
Baskets by Lucas Hesser, Sam Krahling and Coates gave LCWM its largest lead at 29-16 before Montevideo closed the half on an 11-1 run on field goals by Troy Diggins, Spencer Hildahl, Jesse Brace, Diggins and Ryan Maroney.
LCWM's lead fluctuated between four and 11 points in the second half. After Jordan Thompson pulled Montevideo within 50-46 with 7:20 to play, Coates drilled three-pointers, his fourth and fifth of the game, on consecutive possessions.
Brace scored 10 of Montevideo's final 14 points, but the closest the T-Hawks would get was within 64-60 with 11 seconds left.
Brace led the T-Hawks in his final game with 19 points. Spencer Hildahl kept Montevideo in the game in the first half, scoring eight of his 12 points. The sophomore center also grabbed 10 rebounds. Diggins added 11 points and Maroney 10.
In addition to Brace and Maroney, it was the final game for Eric Lin, Derek Bruns, Tanner Rood and Blake Jorgensen.
"Our kids did a great job of executing our game plan and they worked extremely hard all night," said Montevideo coach Dan Douglas. "Coates surprised us with his three-point shooting. He is usually an inside player but got it going from the perimeter last night. Our kids did a great job of coming back from their runs, but each time we did, they hit a big shot or got a big rebound and they were able to hold us off. I could not be more proud of a group of kids for how hard they fought in this game!"
"This season has been a lot of fun. We worked hard as a team all year and worked through some unfortunate circumstances to put a pretty good basketball team on the floor. We were competitive all season and were one game away from winning a conference championship and were able to make a good run in the post season. The kids have a lot to be proud off.
"Thanks to the fans for their support all year and for the showing in Granite Falls against LCWM. It was awesome."
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