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Chamberlain starts quick to top Winner in Class A state tourney

“We always saw them as a rival,” Chamberlain junior Sellyck McManus said. “We knew we wanted to come out here and beat them on the big stage, even if we didn’t beat them in the regular season."

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Winner's Blake Volmer (24) dribbles around the defense of Chamberlain's Drayton Priebe (2) during a consolation semi-final game on the second day of the Class A state tournament on Friday, March 19 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. (Matt Gade / Republic)

SIOUX FALLS -- Chamberlain didn’t lack motivation on Friday.

It pulled from a regular-season loss to Winner and how it squandered opportunities on Thursday to Sioux Valley. The Cubs came out with energy and a sense of redemption, scoring the game’s first 19 points in a 68-43 win over the Warriors at the Sanford Premier Center to advance to the Class A fifth-place game.

“We always saw them as a rival,” Chamberlain junior Sellyck McManus said. “We knew we wanted to come out here and beat them on the big stage, even if we didn’t beat them in the regular season.”
The Cubs (18-5) learned from their loss to Sioux Valley. They immediately established an inside presence with McManus, controlled the glass and put defensive stopper Hayden Evans on all-state guard Brady Fritz.

When Fritz drove to the basket, Chamberlain collapsed on the senior to force contested looks in the paint. His off-shooting night threw Winner’s (20-4) offense out of sorts, as he finished with 13 points on 6-for-18 shooting (1 of 7 from 3). The Warriors shot 36.4 percent from the field.

“He’s a really good shooter, so we had to get in front of him, get in his head and make sure he didn’t have any space to get his shots up,” McManus said.

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The Warriors started 0-for-7 from the field and turned it over four times before Aiden Barfuss hit a free-throw with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter to halt Chamberlain’s 19-0 run.

Winner dug a 20-point hole for the second straight game, but didn’t have another near-comeback in its back pocket on Friday. A 12-2 run sparked by improved rebounding to end the first half cut the deficit to 31-22 at halftime, though Winner trailed by double digits the rest of the game. Blake Volmer finished with 10 points for the Warriors.

“We go as Brady goes,” Winner coach Brett Gardner said. “... When Brady gets it going, people have a lot of confidence. … When Brady’s kind of struggling shooting, other guys feel like they want to give him the ball and that kind of hurt us tonight.”

While Winner’s offense searched for answers, the 6-foot-7 McManus recorded a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double. He forced attention with his post game that opened up driving lanes, while grabbing eight of Chamberlain’s 10 offensive rebounds that led to 12 second-chance points.

“(McManus) was frustrated with last night and he responded today,” Chamberlain coach Adam Nelson said. “We want to play through him. … He’s showing his potential. As a junior, big kid like that, he’s still molding into what he can be and we’re proud of the effort he gave us.”

Chamberlain fed off his effort, shooting 50 percent from the field.

Drayton Priebe stole the momentum out of halftime by hitting a 3 on Chamberlain’s first possession en route to scoring 16 of his team-high 22 points in the second half to go with eight assists.

Cameron Caldwell also added 11 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Evans also dished out five assists. Chamberlain assisted on 22 of 26 makes.

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“We definitely wanted to come back harder, but what really struck us was we knew we wanted this matchup,” McManus said. “... They beat us earlier in the season. We knew we had unfinished business. We wanted to come out with some aggression.”

Chamberlain plays St. Thomas More at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Winner plays Vermillion at noon Saturday.

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