Tigers advance to Section 3AA finals

The MACA boys team has been living on the edge the last two playoff games. They have pulled off two wins by a combined six points to advance to the Section 3AA finals. First, the Tigers knocked off top seeded Montevideo in Willmar 65-63 on March 7. In the subsection finals, MACA took down the two seed Eden Valley-Watkins 57-53 March 9 at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. With the two victories, MAVA advances to the section finals against Jackson County Central.

MACA 65 Montevideo 63

The Tigers ended their regular season with a 86-78 loss to the Thunderhawks in Montevideo. Just over a week later, the fourth seeded Tigers took on the top seed Montevideo in Willmar in the second round of the Section 3AA playoffs. The Tigers were able to pull off a heart-stopping 57-53 upset.

In addition to the last loss to Montevideo, MACA also dropped their home game in January by just one point. The old adage of it being difficult to beat a team three times in a year proved true when the Tigers were able to take down the Thunderhawks.

In the opening moments of the game, the Thunderhawks looked like they might run away with the game by opening up a 13-2 lead five minutes into the game.

MACA did not let Montevideo get too far in front and quickly trimmed the lead to two points with a 13-4 run themselves.

Both teams traded buckets over the final five minutes of the first half. A three from Alex Asmus gave the Tigers a 30-28 lead at the halftime break.

The close game continued into the second half. The lead bounced back and forth between the two teams, but the Thunderhawks thought they had some clearance when they opened up a 51-45 lead with 8:30 left to play, but the Tigers scored the next six point to tie the game at 51-51.

Charlie Hanson was huge for the Tigers down the stretch. He scored nine points in the final five minutes to help the Tigers pull off the two point win. The Tigers had a two-possession lead for most of the final minute of the game. The Thunderhawks did hit a three with a second left to make the final score 65-63, in favor of the Tigers.

Hanson led the team with 19 points. Drew Huebner chipped in with 17 points. Riley Asmus was the only other Tiger to score in double figures, finishing with 11. Alex Asmus had eight points, Owen Anderson had six points and Tyler Friesen and Jack Kehoe both ended with two points.

MACA 57 EV-W 53

In the Section 3AA – North subsection finals, the Tigers ran into the two seeded Eden Valley-Watkins Eagles at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. The Eagles came into the game with a 24-4 record and the Tigers were 19-9. The Tigers led for most of the second half, but EV-W clawed their way back into the game and had the lead late. MACA made just enough plays down the stretch to finish with a 57-53 win to advance to the Section 3AA finals.

The Eagles had two four-point leads in the opening minutes of the game and played from in front for the first 10 minutes. Riley Asmus gave the Tigers their second lead with an elbow jumper to make it 14-12 with eight minutes left in the half.

The Tigers finished the half on a flurry and took a double-digit 32-22 advantage into the locker room for halftime.

MACA was up as much as 14 points in the first few minutes of the second half, but the Eagles started to chip away. Just six minutes later, EV-W had cut the double-digit gap down to 42-37 with 8:00 on the clock.

EV-W continued their methodical comeback and a three with just over three minutes left trimmed the Tiger lead to just a point, 50-49. With under a minute remaining, the Eagles took their first lead of the second half at 53-52.

On the next possession, Alex Asmus hit a corner three in front of his bench to give the Tigers a 55-53 lead with 20 seconds left.

The Tigers earned a defensive stop and Hanson hit two free throws to ice the 57-53 win. Hanson and Alex Asmus led the team with 16 points apiece. Hanson added four rebounds and two steals and Alex Asmus had four rebounds. Riley Asmus was the only other player in double figures with 13 points and six rebounds. Huebner chipped in with five points, five rebounds and two assists while being matched up with a 6’8 EV-W player. Jack Kehoe added three points and two rebounds. Anderson and Friesen both had two points. Anderson added two rebounds.

The Tigers will have a chance to punch their ticket to state in Section 3AA finals when they play the 20-7 Jackson County Central Huskies at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.