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Golden Eagle boys top Tigers

Alec Nelson poured in a game-high 34 points to lead the Mitchell Christian boys basketball team to a first-round District 8B victory over Howard 70-56 on Monday at the Corn Palace.

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Mitchell Christian's Alec Nelson, right drives to the basket as Howard's Tisyn Spader, left, tries to defend him during a District 8B boys basketball game on Monday at the Corn Palace. (Eric Mayer / Republic)

Alec Nelson poured in a game-high 34 points to lead the Mitchell Christian boys basketball team to a first-round District 8B victory over Howard 70-56 on Monday at the Corn Palace.

The Golden Eagles held off any chance of a Tiger comeback in the fourth quarter. Howard pulled within 10 points twice in the final quarter, but MCS always had an answer.

"This time of year at the end of the game, everyone's back is against the wall and you do what you can fight back into it," MCS head coach Jesse Tolsma said. "The kids stayed poised and got big baskets. A few shots we took earlier than we'd like, but we'd get a stop, come back and stayed patient."

Tolsma credited Howard to pushing his team throughout the contest, but added the Golden Eagle defense set the tone in the game. MCS led 18-9 after one quarter, 32-24 at halftime and 55-37 at the end of the third quarter.

"We attacked the zone," Tolsma said. "The credit goes to the kids. They did a great job playing unselfish and passing to teammates. Our defense was what led to our offense a lot of times. Anytime you can find an easy basket, that's a great advantage."

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Alongside Nelson, Christian Cooper chipped in 18 points, while Zach Bosworth added 10 assists, seven rebounds and five steals. Ty Vander Pol led MCS with eight rebounds as the Golden Eagles went 27-of-53 from the field (51 percent), 10-of-13 from the line and forced Howard into 23 turnovers.

"We have nothing to lose so we went all out and played as team," Nelson said. "We were always willing to make that extra pass and we always got good shots."

Kalub Carmichael led Howard with 14 points, while Tisyn Spader added 13 points and Connor Hamilton chipped in 12 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. Tate Schwader pulled down 10 rebounds for the Tigers, who went 30-of-74 from the field (41 percent) and 5-of-8 from the line (63 percent) in the loss.

With the win, No. 3-seeded MCS (10-11) will face No. 2 Canistota in the District 8B semifinals at 8 p.m. today at the Corn Palace.

"We get to go against a tough Canistota team but this time of year, defense is what wins," Tolsma said. "You may not have your shot that night, but you can always play defense. We are going to have to bring our 'A' game but we are excited about the opportunity."

Howard's season ends at 2-18.

MCS 18 32 55 70

H 9 24 37 56

Related Topics: BOYS BASKETBALLHOWARD
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