By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
Early in the game, you weren’t quite sure how it would go for the Caledonia Warriors.
But in the end the Warriors held on to win 70-57 over the Panthers who led early, rallied to within four points late but ultimately lost by double-digits.
Pine Island kept things close and interesting early, using their two big men, 6’9” foreign exchange student Mark Mboya Kotieno and the athletic 6’4” Broc Finstuen to cause problems for the Warriors.
After five minutes of play, the Warriors’ shots were only falling from the outside. They were 3-for -3 on three point shots (Andrew Goergen, Sam Barthel, and Owen King) and had an early 9-6 lead.
Then the Panthers went on a 7-0 run and led 13-9.
Things were tied at 16 apiece until the Warriors went on a late run and led 36-26 at the half.
Junior sharpshooter Owen King led all scorers at the half with 19 points.
Pump the brakes
As a rocaous crowd hooted and gleeped, in the second half the Warriors slowed the game way down.
Their strategy was to pull Mboyo-Kotieno out to the center court line with a faster guard and slow down the pace of the game.
The Warriors moved the ball around well outside of the three point line, creating off the ball movement opportunities for points for Marten Morem and Noah King who had struggled to find his shot in the first half, but found it in the second stanza.
Noah King finished with 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half.
Andrew Goergen put a quick move on the 6’9” Pine Island center and drove to the basket for an easy lay up, and two of his seven points.
With three minutes to go, the Warriors lead was 15.
Five quick points by Pine Island brought the score to 10 with just over two minutes to go.
The Panthers tried to make a rally late but the Warriors thwarted their efforts.
They were named the sub-section champions following the win.
Owen King: 26
Noah King: 16
Marten Morem: 11
Andrew Goergen: 7
Sam Barthel: 6
Jordan Burg: 2
Austin Heim: 2
Pine Island : 26 31–57
Caledonia: 36 34–70
The win means Caledonia advances to the section final where they will face Lake City for another trip to the State Tournament on the line.
The game is at the Mayo Civic Center Arena and will be played on Thursday, March 16 at 6 p.m.