Boys Basketball: Red Wing clinches Owatonna tourney title
For the second straight season, Red Wing travelled to Owatonna for two games. Both times the Wingers won their first game of the Huskies’ tournament, then faced the hosts in the championship game.
And, just like last year, Red Wing earned a hard-fought victory over Owatonna.
The 2013 edition of the soon-to-be Big Nine Conference rivalry ended 52-49 in favor of the Wingers, a game that nearly got away from Red Wing.
“We really played well against Waseca on Friday, and going into Saturday we knew it was going to be tough with Owatonna at home, our second game in a row and having stayed in a hotel,” said Red Wing head coach Doug Toivonen. “We actually got off to a good start, then we kind of tailed off. Then we picked it up again at the end.”
The Wingers trailed 23-20 at halftime, but got things together to take an eight-point lead with 2 minutes, 30 seconds to go.
But the Huskies’ pressure got Owatonna back into the game.
“We had some turnovers, and just didn’t play smart,” Toivonen said.
A one-point lead with 25 seconds to play was extended to three when Jon Sevlie hit two free throws. The Huskies attempted to tie the game on their ensuing possession, but a 3-pointer missed and was rebounded by the Wingers.
Yet the game would not end at the free-throw line for Red Wing as a turnover gave Owatonna one last chance to even the score.
Coming out of a timeout, Owatonna got a contested look at a game-tying 3-pointer, but solid defense forced the shot to miss everything as the Wingers held on for their ninth win of the season.
Isaac Toivonen led Red Wing with 15 points and added nine rebounds to come up just shy of a double-double. Ben Miller did complete that feat with 10 points and a team-high 13 rebounds.
“Those guys, Isaac and Ben, really kind of carried us without Ty (Buck),” Toivonen said.
Buck, who missed the tournament with a foot injury, was on hand in Owatonna. Had anything happened, however, Buck could have suited up.
“Even when he was (in Owatonna), he probably could have played if we needed him,” Toivonen said. “We just don’t want it to linger, so he (didn’t play).”
But the Wingers got solid contributions from several players including Sevlie (six points), Travis Toivonen (12) and Marcus Veith, Ben Munson and Nick Powers (all with three points). Toivonen did add that he hopes to have Buck suited up by the weekend.
The Wingers (9-1) will host Chaska Friday, then will visit Kasson-Mantorville Saturday. The rest of the schedule is heavy on Missota Conference play with the exception of a Feb. 8 home date against Stewartville.