For a second-straight year, Minneapolis saw its season come to an end in on its home floor in the opening round of sub-state on Monday night.
Norton made seven 3-pointers on its way to a 55-49 win over Minneapolis in the 4/5 match up of the 3A Boys Beloit sub-state.
Norton launched a triangle-and-two defense on Minneapolis right away and the Lions never looked comfortable at all in the first half. Norton led after a low scoring first stanza, 9-8.
Minneapolis was able to gain some more offensive confidence in the second quarter and led for the majority of the period, however, the pesky Bluejays never let the Lions have more than a three point lead.
A pair of Norton free-throws just before the break tied the game at 20-20 going in to halftime.
Slowly, but surely, Minneapolis came out with an improved offensive effort in the second half and the Lions went inside time after time to its big post player, Spencer Davidson. Davidson worked his mid-range and close-in game well and he helped pushed the Lions to a 35-31 lead after three.
The Bluejays saved its best for last, however. Norton came in to Monday night’s win-or-go-home game making just 26% of its 3s on the year. The Bluejays hit a season-best seven 3-pointers in the game, including three in the fourth quarter as Minneapolis once again tried to pull away.
Minneapolis saw its season come to a close, trailing 51-49 with under 30 seconds remaining when the Lions turned the ball over.
Norton (13-8) made its free-throws down the stretch to put Minneapolis away. The Bluejays had three players in double-figures led by Kade Melvin with 18 points, Ryan Schrum with 13 and Carter Jones chipping in 11 points in the win.
The Bluejays outscored Minneapolis 24-14 in the final quarter and will face the top-seed of the tournament, Beloit on Thursday in the semi-finals.
Minneapolis (14-7) was led by Davidson’s 22 points–which tied a season-high. Nolan White was the only other Minneapolis Lion in double-figures with 10 points.
Minneapolis says good-bye to four seniors: Kaden Griffin, Jonah Ausherman, Derek Freel and Dylan Pieschl who led the Lions to 27 wins in two years.