Tigers survive Thunder threat
It took overtime for both Morris Area and Benson to win first-round play-off games Thursday and advance to Saturday's semi-final game in the Section 6AA West tournament.
The Tigers (21-4) and the Braves (16-9) will face off at 6 p.m. at the University of Minnesota, Morris.
The West Central Conference South rivals have met twice this season, with Morris Area winning both contests. The Tigers defeated Benson 65-45 on the road on Jan. 10 and beat the Braves at home 62-49 on Feb. 7.
The Tigers narrowly escaped an upset by No. 8 seed Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Thursday in Morris. The Thunder gave the top-seeded Tigers a scare, forcing the game into overtime 42-42.
In the final four minutes the Tigers took control, scoring the first seven points, four from Lincoln Arnold and a three-point play by Cory Hennen.
The Thunder was plagued by turnovers in overtime.
The Tigers shot 33 percent (18-54) from the field with Tyler Meichsner and Daniel Tiernan hitting the team's two three-pointers.
The Thunder were shooting 43 percent (19-44), including six three-point buckets.
At the free-throw line, the Tigers were 13-of-27, while the Thunder was only 2-of-5.
Morris Area won the rebound battle, grabbing 37 boards compared to 26 for the Thunder.
Hennen led the Tigers with 12 points. Arnold and Jackson Henrich added 11 apiece.
Chris Scott had a team-high 11 rebounds while Henrich grabbed eight.
Taylor Nohl dished out five assists and Henrich blocked three shots to lead the Tigers.
Also scoring for the Tigers were Eric Riley and Tiernan with five apiece, Meichsner with three, Corey Nohl and Scott with two each.
Meanwhile, the No. 4 seed Braves avoided a second overtime with Minnewaska Area when senior Aaron Lindahl hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for a 69-66 victory.
In other Section 6AA West action Breckenridge defeated West Central Area 67-42 and Staples-Motley downed Osakis 90-50 to advance to the other semi-final game Saturday at 7:45 p.m. at UMM.