Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta closed the regular season with a non-conference 73-63 loss at Melrose Friday.
The Tigers, coming off a Thursday night win at BOLD to finish alone in second place in the South half, finished the regular season with a 15-10 record.
Melrose improved their record to 19-7 on the season. They like the Tigers, are the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Section 6AA playoffs.
The Tigers will host No. 7 seed Eden Valley-Watkins at the Morris Area gym tonight (Thursday, March 8). Game time is 7:00 p.m. The winner of that game will play either Benson or St. John's Prep on Saturday, March 10 at 3:30 at St. John's University.
The Tigers fell way behind in the first half against Melrose, and while they were able to close the gap to single digits in the second, the margin was too big to overcome.
"The Dutchmen absolutely lit up the Tigers in the first half, scoring 49 points and taking a commanding 49-24 lead into the half," said coach Mark Torgerson. "The Tigers, to their credit, responded in the second half to actually make a contest out of it before losing their 10th game of the season. If fact, the Tigers closed the gap to six points with just over two minutes to go, but ran out of energy and time in dropping a game to the North half champ of the West Central Conference."
Melrose had dropped a game a night earlier by 22 points to South Half Champ Montevideo in the Conference playoff game.
"Melrose guards Scottie Stone and Isaac Sawyer did most of the damage in the first half as Melrose built an early double digit lead," explained Torgerson. "The junior, Stone, who had collected his 1000th point earlier in week, sank 16 first-half points and Sawyer added 15 points. The duo outscored the entire Tiger team total of 24 points in the first half."
Jacob Torgerson came off the Tiger bench and drained three three pointers to lead the Tigers with nine first-half points. Austin Dierks added sixpoints.
"The energy level for the Tigers was finally at a high level in the second half as they played much better basketball," added Torgerson. "With the Tiger guards attacking the basket they closed the gap in the second half.
"The fact that they had such a huge gap to come back from was their major downfall, but they did make the game more competitive."
Chandler Erickson scored eight of his 10 points in the second half, many of those in the paint attacking the basket. Dierks scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half and Torgerson added another eight points to finish with 17 for the night.
"Lincoln Berget provided spark off the bench for the Tigers with a team-high seven rebounds and three assists."
Stone finished with 26 points to lead all scorers and Sawyer finished with 17 points. Ryan Elfering also finished in double figures with 12 points.
The Dutchmen shot 49 percent for the game to the Tigers' 41 percent. Melrose had a big edge at the free-throw line, where they made 15 of 21 attempts while the Tigers were just six for 14. Melrose had a 30 - 29 edge on the boards.
Morris/C-A 25 38 -- 73
Melrose 49 24 -- 63
MORRIS/CA - 26-64 FG (5-20 3-pt); 6-14 FT; 29 rebounds; 17 fouls; Scoring: Brody Bahr 2, Riley Arndt 5, Lincoln Berget 5, Logan Manska 5, Jacob Torgerson 17, Chandler Erickson 10, Austin Dierks 18; 3-point shots: Torgerson 4, Manska 1; Rebounds: Bahr 3, Nic Vipond 2, Arndt 3, Berget 7, Manska 1, Torgerson 4, Erickson 3, Dierks 6; Assists: Erickson 3, Berget 3, Bahr 2, Manska 2, Dierks 2; Steals: Dierks 2, Erickson 1, Berget 1, Bahr 1
MELROSE - 27-55 FG (4-13 3-pt); 15-21 FT; 27 rebounds; 17 fouls; Scoring: Seth Noll 3, Issac Sawyer 17, Corey Wiehoff 2, Ryan Elfering 12, Scottie Stone 26, Mitch Reller 5, Mitch Niehaus 8; 3-point shots: Noll 1, Elfering 2, Stone 1; Rebound leaders: Reller 3; Assist leaders: Sawyer 5; Steal leaders: Elfering 2, Stone 2, Reller 2