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Boys basketball: Mankato West wins Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic

Nick Bahls led Perham with 19 points in the Worthington final. Aaron Hagen/Globe

By Les Knutson/Worthington Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — Outscoring Perham by a 28-14 margin over the game’s last 11 minutes Saturday night, the well-balanced Mankato West Scarlets won their sixth Daily Globe Trojan Holiday Classic high school boys’ basketball tournament with a 60-52 victory over the Yellowjackets in the tourney’s title tilt.

West, which won five consecutive classic championships from 2004-2008, rallied from a 38-32 deficit and prevailed down the stretch with a combination of stellar half court defense and good usage of an effective high-low offensive attack.

The Scarlets, who improved to 8-2 for the season with its two tournament wins (West defeated Sibley East, 79-56, in Friday’s semifinals), received a total of 32 points from four players off the bench to prove veteran coach Tom Boone’s strong emphasis on team balance and depth.

“We use a lot of guys and they all contribute in different ways,” Boone pointed out after talking to his team following the victory. “We normally press — full court — but all five of Perham’s starters handle the ball well, so against them we decided to just stress playing good half-court defense, which I think we did.”

Indeed. After scoring 81 points Friday against Worthington (an 81-52 win) in the semifinals, the Yellowjackets were held to 52 Saturday, netting only 12 two-point field goals in the contest — compared to 26 the night before.

“I think we forced them to rush some shots and we rebounded well, giving up few second shots,” Boone said. “Offensively, we had great balance like we usually do and were able to pass the ball well inside against their double-teaming tactics in the post.”

Mankato West’s inside tandem of 6-2 junior Alex Goettl and 6-3 sophomore Jake Dale found each other several times with nifty over-the-top passes in the second half, leading the Scarlets’ late-game surge.

Goettl, who did not start, scored two points in the first half and netted 12 more after intermission, finishing with a team-high 14 points, while also claiming 10 rebounds.

“He’s one of several guys who can do great things for us,” said Boone about Goettl’s all-around play. “We have real good balance.”

Dale, who was impressive in last year’s tournament, finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while 6-1 senior guard Trevon Jones netted 10 points (five in each half) for the Scarlets, who improved from last to first in the classic.

“Last year, we lost both games here,” Boone remembered. “So, it was nice to win two this year. As always, this is a great tournament.”

West, which won the Class AAA state championship in 2004 and finished as the runner-up in the same class in 2009, appears to have a top-notch squad again this season.

“They are good,” summed up Perham head coach Dave Cresap about the Scarlets. “They will not lose many games. We battled hard and had our chances. But give Mankato West a lot of credit; they are a well-coached fundamentally-sound team, which has a lot of depth.”

Four players who did not start combined to score 13 of Mankato West’s 22 first-half points and three of those — including Goettl — produced 19 more in the second half, as the Scarlets’ reserves outscored Perham’s bench by a 32-1 spread.

Perham (8-3) held small leads through most of the game’s first 27 minutes, including a nine-point advantage (33-24) early in the second half after Hunter Salathe — who had scored 33 points against Worthington — sank his only three-pointer of the tournament.

The Yellowjackets looked sharp during an impressive 8-0 spurt during a two-minute and 27 second stretch of the first half, which turned a 12-11 deficit into a 19-12 lead.

In typical fashion, all five Perham starters had scored when Boone called a timeout at the 4:29 mark, trailing by seven.

West, which took a 12-11 edge with 6:56 to play in the first half on a three-pointer by freshman guard Jake Makela and an inside hoop by Dale, rallied to close the gap to 25-22 by intermission.

Seven players scored for West in the first half, led by five each from Jones and 5-10 senior guard Tyler Stoffel. Salathe (10), Tyler Glines (seven) and Nick Bahls (six) combined for 21 of Perham’s 25 points.

Makela three-pointer gives West 39-38 edge at the 8:43 mark

Bahls, who finished with a game-high 19 points, fired in the third of his five three-pointers on the night, increasing Perham’s lead to six, at 28-22, on the Yellowjackets’ first possession of the second half.

A Glines’ drive made it 30-22 and Salathe’s trey stretched it to 33-24.

But, the Scarlets began to counter.

Junior point guard Carter Burmeister (six assists) fed Dale for a bucket and Dale found Goettl for another, slicing the gap to 33-28.

A pull-up jumper by Glines gave Perham a 35-28 lead, but Goettl scored twice down low (assist Dale on the second) and it was 35-32 with 11:53 to go.

Bahls nailed a contested jumper from the left corner for three points and a 38-32 Yellowjackets’ advantage.

Inside baskets by Makela and senior forward Braedan Myers (sweet assist from Stoffel) brought West within two, 38-36.

A minute later, West took its first lead in over 15 minutes when Makela drained a three-pointer from the right wing with 8:43 showing on the clock.

“He’s a clutch player for a freshman,” praised Boone. “Jake loves basketball and is a ‘heads-up’ player.”

Glines (12 points, four assists) used a nifty ball fake to hit Bahls on a patented Perham backdoor cut, giving the Yellowjackets the lead back, 40-39.

But, a pair of free throws by Myers gave the edge back to the Scarlets — who kept the lead the rest of the game.

A spectacular tip-in by Dale — after Makela had scooted all the way to the hoop on a coast-to-coast drive — seemed to spark West’s final surge.

A nice drive by Jones increased the lead to 45-41 at the 5:48 mark and 36 seconds later, the Scarlets were up by five when Jones sank a trio of free throws. Bahls had scored on a nifty off-balance jumper in between those five points by Jones.

Burmeister found Dale again inside and with 4:41 remaining, West had turned the game around with an 18-5 run, leading 50-43.

Bahls, who scored 13 points in the second half, drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key, but Goettl passed to Stoffel for a basket down low and it was 52-46.

After another defensive stop, Jones passed to Goettl for a basket and West had a 54-46 advantage with just 3:15 to play.

Perham responded with a great play, which went from Eli Beachy to Salathe to Glines, who switched hands, scored and was fouled. He converted the three-point play, slicing the gap to 54-49.

But, once again, Dale passed to Goettl for an easy layup and West was back up by seven.

A three-point play — off an offensive rebound — by Perham’s Sam Muer brought the Yellowjackets to within four at the 1:40 mark.

But Perham did not score again and the Scarlets clinched the verdict with a free throw by Burmeister, two from Goettl and one by Dale.

“We knew that we had to match Perham’s hustle and work ethic,” summed up Boone. “I think that we did that, along with doing the little things right — like Perham does. This game was a step in the right direction for us.”

Mankato West 22 60

Perham 25 52

Mankato West (3PT-2PT-FT-TP) Dale 0-6-1-13, Makela 2-1-0-8, Stoffel 0-2-3-7, Burmeister 0-0-1-1, Goettl 0-6-2-14, Jones 1-2-3-10, Nessler 0-1-1-3, Myers 0-1-2-4. Totals 3-19-13-60.

Perham (3PT-2PT-FT-TP) Moberg 0-0-1-1, Beachy 0-0-1-1, Salathe 1-4-3-14, Glines 0-4-4-12, Bahls 5-2-0-19, Muer 0-2-1-5. Totals 6-12-10-52.