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Blackhawks edge MCS for state berth

Mitchell Christian's Alexa Van Laecken (10), falls to the ground as she is defended by Sanborn Central/Woonsocket's Candace Page-Marten (15), during the Region 5B championship Friday in Huron. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

HURON -- For the second straight year the Sanborn Central/Woonsocket girls' basketball team is heading to the Class B state tournament.

The Blackhawks defeated a scrappy Mitchell Christian squad 53-47 to earn the Region 5B championship Friday in Huron.

"It feels absolutely incredible to be going to state, but first and foremost, hats off to Mitchell Christian," co-head coach Rob Baruth said. "They have some outstanding ladies and coaches and they gave us a run for our money. Our girls fought some adversity and we made some big plays down the line, and I am so happy for them."

Baruth coaches alongside co-head coach Tim McCain, who earned his 250th career win in the first round of districts against Wolsey-Wessington Feb. 19. When Sanborn Central and Woonsocket merged two years ago it was decided that both men would coach.

Since that time, the two-year-old Blackhawks have reeled off 44 wins and only five losses to go along with two region championships and two state tournament appearances.

Last year, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket finished fourth at the Class B state tournament.

"It has been great to work with coach McCain, both of us get along really well, and we coached against each other for quite a few years and had a lot of respect for each other," Baruth said.

"A couple of years ago, both of our teams had a good group of kids, and it was just a matter of us getting them to play together."

By game's end, there were smiles all around the Sanborn Central/Woonsocket bench but that happiness was in jeopardy for most of the ball game.

Mitchell Christian gave the Blackhawks all they could handle for the better part of three quarters.

The Eagles were comfortably ahead at halftime 31-24. Mitchell Christian pulled away in the second quarter with the help of Alexa Van Laecken, Becca Glanzer and Khiree Held.

At the half, Glanzer had a team-high 10 points, Van Laecken had nine and Held had eight. The trio scored 27 of the team's first-half 31 points.

The Eagles had the opportunity to take a nine-point lead headed into the half, but they fouled SCW's Rachelle Moore as she shot a Hail Mary from the other end of the court.

Moore made two of her three free-throw attempts and gave the Blackhawks a little momentum heading into halftime.

While Moore capped off the half with points, SCW center Shelby Selland did the majority of scoring for her team in the half. The junior forward scored 12 first-half points and finished the game with 18.

"The foul absolutely affected momentum, but we knew they were going to start attacking us more in the second half," Mitchell Christian coach Jackie Van Laecken said.

The Blackhawks attacked Mitchell Christian's defense more in the second half and tied the game by the end of the third quarter.

Coming down the back stretch of the game, MCS was clinging to a 44-43 lead with 2:53 left in the game when SCW's Marissa Weber took over.

Weber hit a 3-pointer to give the Blackhawks the lead by two. Then Held, who led the Eagles in scoring with 14 points, answered with a three of her own to retake the lead for Mitchell Christian.

But Weber had the last laugh as the next time up the court she drained another 3-pointer to give the Blackhawks the lead for good.

Weber finished the game with 11 points.

"I was just hoping to put the ball through the hoop. I wasn't really thinking when I took my shots. I was just getting in rhythm and shooting them," Weber said.

Mitchell Christian and SCW played a close game on Feb. 15 in a contest where the Blackhawks came out on top 63-53 but clung to a six-point lead with two minutes to go before breaking it open on made free-throws.

"There are similarities in both of the games; they had second-half rallies in both games, but this time, we didn't let them get on a roll," Van Laecken said. "Our girls played a great game but we just didn't come away with the win."

Sanborn Central/Woonsocket advances to the Class B state tournament, which is Thursday through March 9 at Huron Arena.



MCS (15-7)

Alexa Van Laecken 4-7 2-5 13, Becca Glanzer 3-9 4-6 11, Khiree Held 5-13 0-0 14, Emily Reynen 1-2 1-4 3, Brittany Zoss 3-4 0-0 6, Abbie Reynen 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Glanzer 0-0 0-0 0, Kelsey Thompson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-35 10-15 47.

SCW (22-1)

Rachelle Moore 2-8 6-8 10, Candace Page-Marten 0-0 0-0 0, Marissa Weber 4-11 0-0 11, Rachel Selland 1-4 1-2 3, Shelby Selland 8-14 2-2 18, Morgan Selland 0-2 0-0 0, Myah Selland 4-5 3-4 11. Totals: 19-44 12-16 53.

MCS 15 31 37 47

SCW 14 24 37 53

3-point goals: MCS 5 (Held 4, Glanzer 1), SCW 3 (Weber). Rebounds: MCS 24 (Zoss 6), SCW 23 (My. Selland 5, Ra. Selland 5), Assists: MCS 4 (Van Laekcen 3), SCW 11 (Weber 3). Steals: MCS 5 (Held 3), SCW 8 (My. Selland 3). Turnovers: MCS 21, SCW 16. Total fouls: MCS 13, SCW 17. Technical fouls: none.