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Morris/C-A closes out season runner-up of 3AA

Morris/C-A's Jacob Zosel and Jackson County Central's Ryan Christopher go for a loose ball during the Section 3AA title game on Thursday, March 16 at Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall. The JCC Huskies defeated the Morris/C-A Tigers 80-71 to head back to the Class AA State Tournament for the second straight year. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)

The shots kept falling and falling for Jackson County Central and didn't stop until it brought the Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta boys' basketball team's season to an end.

RELATED: Tigers win Section 3AA-North title, prep boys basketball, Morris/C-A athletics

Camden Arndt led Morris/C-A with 21 points Thursday night. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)Jacob Christopher had 25 points and his Huskies had a response for every run the Tigers made in the Section 3AA final at Southwest Minnesota State on Thursday, March 16, coming away with a 80-71 win.

"They were just a really good team to go up against," Tigers head coach Mark Torgerson said. "I don't know how many shots they made, but it was a lot. We had five players score in double figures. I'm really proud of the way our guys played."

Camden Arndt scored a team-high 21 points and hit five three-pointers, but it wasn't enough against the high-octane attack of JCC, which advanced to the Minnesota Class 2A Basketball Tournament next week. Morris trailed by eight points at halftime and drew within three points with over 11 minutes to play in the second half, but could not keep the pressure on from there.

Tate Nelson hits a wide-open jumper. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)Tate Nelson scored 13 points, both Lukus Manska and Jaret Johnson scored 12 points and Jacob Zosel added 11 points to round of the Morris leaders.

"We had enough scoring, but just didn't come up with the defensive stops we needed," Torgerson said. "Then, they had a couple of tip-ins in the first half and our turnovers over a little stretch there did us in."

Arndt hit three-pointers during a personal 9-0 run to give Morris a 19-16 lead, but JCC struck fire later on, going on a 15-1 run to jump out to a 14-point advantage.

"That stretch in the first half was a mix of their players attacking, and us just not executing," Torgerson said. "Their guys attacked the hole, and credit to them."

Andrew Anderson receives his medal during the 3AA awards ceremony. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)The run for the Huskies would prove to be the difference, as the two teams went back-and-forth in a fast-paced game the rest of the way.

"We knew exactly how good they were," Torgerson said. "And with the way they score and handle the ball, it's tough to come back on them. We couldn't do much with a press against their ball-handlers."

Connor Koebernick dished out five assists in the 3AA title game. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)Arndt found his groove with the Tigers down 16-10 in the first half, hitting his three consecutive three-pointers to take the lead. The sophomore forward came into his own down the stretch run for Morris, regularly finishing among the team's leading scorers.

"Cam can be a player that leads us offensively in the future," Torgerson said. "He has that inside/outside game that you like. He really has the skillset of a perimeter player, and we just needed him down low this year. He's a good player."

Lukus Manska and Jacob Zosel hold up the 3AA runner-up trophy. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)The score remained within one possession until the Huskies converted fastbreak layups on back-to-back possessions to take a 32-28 lead.

Those two baskets kicked off a 15-1 run over the next four minutes, as JCC matched Arndt with three consecutive triples to give JCC a 43-29 lead.

A jumper by Jaret Johnson with five seconds to play capped an 8-2 run for Morris to close out the half trailing 45-37. Both teams traded baskets to open the second half until a Tate Nelson three-pointer and a Lukus Manska layup cut the deficit to 60-57 with 11:18 remaining.

Jaret Johnson had 12 points in the game against JCC. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)That would be the closest that the Tigers would get, though, as the Huskies quickly seized the reins the rest of the way. JCC rattled off a 10-3 run as Morris came up with just one basket over eight its next possessions and would never cut the lead to less than seven points.

The Tigers close out the 2016-2017 the season 16-13.

Jackson CC 80, Morris/C-A 71

Jackson CC (26-4)..................45 35 — 80

Morris/C-A (16-13)...............37 34 — 71

JACKSON COUNTY CENTRAL - Scoring: Nico Feroni 15, Rudy Voss 5, Jacob Christopher 25, Easton Bahr 8, Ryan Christopher 18, Zach Bargfrede 2, Chris Gumto 7 ... 3-point shots: Voss 1, J Christopher 3, Bahr 1, Gum 1

MORRIS AREA/CHOKIO-ALBERTA - Scoring: Tim Travis 2, Tate Nelson 13, Camden Arndt 21, Lukus Manska 12, Jaret Johnson 12, Jacob Zosel 11... 3-point shots: Nelson 1, Arndt 5, Zosel 1, Manska 2, Johnson 2… Rebound leader: Johnson 9, Arndt 8… Assist leader: Connor Koebernick 5, Zosel 5… Steal leader: Nelson 1

Curt Hogg

Curt Hogg is a sports reporter at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. 

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