Battered But Not Beaten; Owatonna Gets Historic Win
Owatonna won a physical battle in the section playoffs Saturday at a raucous OHS gym. The 83-66 victory was the first-ever in the playoffs over Lakeville North. The Huskies withstood limited minutes from Evan Dushek, who just became the school's all-time leading scorer Tuesday night, but was limited due to foul trouble.
Owatonna's team depth shined strong.
[Up Next: Section Final, Friday, March 18 vs Farmington at Mayo Civic Center Arena in Rochester at 6 pm on AM 1390 KRFO / 94.7 FM.]
Ty Creger scored nine of the team's first 14 points. He went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line in the second half. Creger had 25 points, ten rebounds and eight assists without committing a turnover. The Huskies were 19-for-23 from the charity stripe overall.
Brayden Williams hit three-pointers from all over the floor, ending the night with five treys and 29 points. Hi initiated several turnovers. OHS forced the Panthers into about 15 giveaways while producing just a handful of their own.
Blake Burmeister scored seven. Nick Williams hit a three. Avery Hartman hit a nice shot. Connor Ginskey grabbed some big rebounds and had a big basket late.
After picking up his fourth foul early in the second half, Dushek sat for quite a while. When he entered he scored nine straight points, turning a nine-point Huskies' lead into a 14-point bulge with about five minutes to go. Dushek ended with 15 points, about five rebounds, and a couple of blocked shots.
The intensity of the game stayed high until the closing seconds despite the double-digit lead. After the team handshake and a short huddle with the coaches, the players sprinted to join their classmates on the court for a wild celebration.
Except for a brief 3-2 and 5-4 Panther lead, the Huskies never trailed after that. Leading 17-16, OHS went on an 11-2 run for a 28-18 advantage with about eight minutes to go in the first half. North rallied to within 32-27. The Huskies went on a 9-2 run for a 12-point lead. OHS led 41-32 at the half.
Williams hit a few of his 'downtown' threes early in the second half but North still pulled within 50-45. That's when the Huskies got big baskets from several different players and Dushek went on his run.
Owatonna (26-2) had lost their last five meetings with the Panthers(19-9), four of those in the section tournament. The Huskies' last win over North before Saturday was in December 2006.