The Owatonna High School boys basketball team qualified for the state tournament with a pulse-quickening 94-85 win at Lakeville South Thursday night. The Huskies raced to a double-digit lead in the opening minutes and led by 21 at the half. OHS extended their lead to about 30 in the second half. The Cougars roared back to within six with about three minutes to go.

Peyton Beyer scored about 20 in the first half. And ended up with nearly 30 points and about 15 rebounds. Bryaden Williams nearly eclipsed 30 points as well, connecting on several of his typical "downtown" three-pointers. He hit 9-of-13 free throws in the second half and delivered a great pass to Beyer who converted after a fabulous head-fake in the closing minute.

Ty Creger started the game as a man on a mission, drilling several early shots and scoring 16 on his 20 before halftime. OHS led 53-32 at the break.

Blake Burmeister hit a three right after South made it a six-point game. He scored nine points. Lincoln Maher hit a pair of free throws right after Burmeister's three to push the Huskies lead to 88-77. Mason Kunkel played a key role as the Huskies dealt with the loss of Evan Dushek to an ankle injury.

Jack Titchenal also missed the game due an ankle. Nolan Burmeister gutted out some minutes as the Huskies had a bit of foul trouble at times. Due to the short bench, the Huskies might have been dragging at the end and playing on emotion and fumes.

OHS played a competitive game at South last year in the semifinals but lost to the Cougars. South didn't get the chance to play in a final last year as the pandemic wiped out the season a few days after that game.

This season the Huskies (17-3) will play a state Class 4A quarterfinal at a high school, probably in southern Minnesota on March 30 or 31. This marks Owatonna's seventh overall state tournament entry and first since 2011.

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