Maple River rallied in the second half for a 61-57 win over New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva in the boys' basketball 2AA South Subsection final Monday night at the Taylor Center at Minnesota State Unversity-Mankato. The Eagles went on an 11-1 run partway through the second half to gain control of the game and hit their free throws down the stretch to score the upset over the top-seeded Panthers and add another chapter to the rivalry between the Gopher Conference opponents.

NRHEG held a 20-19 lead at the half and had reasons to feel good early in the second half. Benji Lundberg reached 1,000 career points and the Panthers pushed their advantage to 37-31. They still led 41-37 when the tide shifted. Maple River's Mason Sohre hit a pair of three's during the game-changed run and the Eagles went ahead 48-42. Sohre scored 25 of his 27 points in the second half, including 15-for-17 at the free throw line.

The Panthers' Jerret Utpadel, Brady Agrimson and Lundberg hit three-pointers down the stretch to close within 50-48, 57-54 and 59-57, but the Eagles hit their shots from the charity line and grabbed just enough rebounds to thwart the Panthers' comeback efforts. NRHEG (24-4) had defeated Maple River (20-9) twice during the season and four times last season as the Panthers made their first-ever state tournament appearance. The Eagles swept three games from NRHEG in 2015-16 as Maple River went to state. The schools have had several tight football playoff games over the years with the Eagles frequently prevailing.

NRHEG graduates seniors Lundberg, Utpadel, Nathaniel Techau, Ryan Hannegrefs, Perry Peterson and Gabe Dahle. Maple River will play Jordan in Friday's 2AA championship game at Bresnan Arena. The Hubmen beat Sibley East 82-55 Monday night.

Coverage of the state high school boys' basketball tournament March 21-24 can be heard on KDHL AM 920 for the 70th consecutive year. Check here for schedule updates and broadcast times.

NRHEG senior Betsy Schoenrock was named to the Minnesota Girls' Basketball Coaches Association Class AA All-State Honorable Mention list Monday. NRHEG graduate Carlie Wagner and her University of Minnesota teammates found out Monday they will play in the NCAA tournament Friday in Eugene, OR against Green Bay at 4PM on ESPN2.


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