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Red Wing's Marcus Veith (45) lines up a 3-point try during the first half of Tuesday's Missota Conference game with Chanhassen in Red Wing. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)

Boys Basketball: Storm duo rock Wingers in second half

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In order to get into the win column against Red Wing, Chanhassen needed an Atlas-like performance from Ben Khwice and Joey Witthus.

Hoisting the Storm on their shoulders, Khwice and Witthus scored 36 of the team’s 40 second-half points, turning a 36-31 halftime deficit into a 71-50 Missota Conference blowout Tuesday at Sonju Gymnasium.

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“We couldn’t stop them. (Khwice) couldn’t miss, and (Witthus) got to the foul line a bunch,” said Wingers’ head coach Doug Toivonen. “You have to give those guys a lot of credit: they put their team on their back and pretty much pounded us in the second half.

“It was pretty frustrating to watch, but like I said, you have to give those guys credit because they stepped up and led their team to victory.”

A Chanhassen comeback looked extremely unlikely with the way Red Wing opened the game. After a 3-pointer by Nick Powers with 8 minutes, 41 seconds left before halftime, the Wingers had a 13-point lead, their biggest of the game.

“We shot real well at the beginning,” Doug Toivonen said. “The kids had energy in the second half.”

Then as a sign of things to come, the Storm (12-6, 4-2 Missota) rattled off a 14-2 run that cut Red Wing’s lead to 27-26. In the last 90 seconds of the half, the Wingers gave themselves a cushion with a hook shot by Ben Miller and a pair of free throws by Jon Sevlie put the team up by five at intermission.

Then after the break, Khwice hit a quick 3-pointer, and the wheels started to come off for Red Wing.

“For whatever reason, it didn’t seem like we had the same energy in the second half. We kind of came out flat,” Doug Toivonen said. “We started the second half with a turnover and … I don’t know. It was disappointing to come out for the second half and play that way after, I thought, the first half was pretty good.”

The duo of Khwice and Witthus combined to score the Storms’ first 31 points of the half, including a three-point play by Witthus that put Chanhassen up for good, 45-42, with 13:05 remaining.

By the time all was said and done, Khwice hit 8 of 10 3-pointers in the game and scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half. Witthus had 15 of his 21 points in the final 18 minutes.

“(Chanhassen) came out with a little sense of urgency in the second half. They were getting the loose balls, they were getting second shots and we were two steps too slow,” Doug Toivonen said. “We were ahead by five at half, and then we got outscored by 25 in the second half. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know which team wanted to win the game more.”

Isaac Toivonen was Red Wing’s top scorer with 13 points on 6 of 15 shooting, and Sevlie scored nine of his 11 points in the first half. Three Wingers – Miller, Powers and Ben Munson – finished with six points.

Red Wing (11-5, 1-4 Missota) travels to Shakopee on Friday.

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