NRHEG beat Maple River 48-44 in a subsection semifinal Thursday, their fourth win over them this season. The Panthers play Fairmont on Monday at MSU-Mankato.

After a streaky first half, the game turned into a tight back-and-forth affair in the second half. NRHEG jumped ahead early 10-0, but trailed 16-15 at the break. In the second half, the Panthers led by five points a few times and trailed by no more than three.

Benji Lundberg scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half. Oakley Baker scored all of his 11 points after halftime, including four crucial free throws late. Jason Jongbloedt hit two free throws in the closing minute. Tyler Raimann played smart with four fouls to continue his defensive efforts against one of the Eagles' top players.

In addition to a Gopher Conference sweep, NRHEG also beat Maple River during the Bethany tournament during the holidays. The schools have developed an intense rivalry over the years, especially in football.

NRHEG (26-2) moves to the subsection championship game against Fairmont (18-9) Monday at 6PM at Minnesota State University-Mankato on Kat Kountry 105FM. The Cardinals upset Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Thursday 81-65.

Friday the NRHEG girls basketball team faces Norwood-Young America at 7:45PM at MSU-Mankato for the Section 2AA championship and a trip to state.

Also on Thursday, the Owatonna High School adapted floor hockey team beat Robbinsdale/Mound/Westonka 9-2 to qualify for the state tournament March 17-18 at Bloomington Jefferson High School.

In girls basketball section championship action Thursday, Lakeville North repeated their 1AAAA championship 46-41 over Rochester Mayo. Winona won the 1AAA title again, topping Northfield 59-40. Waseca won their first girls section title, beating New Ulm 61-56.

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