Boys Basketball: W-E-M runs past Cannon FallsWATERVILLE – Waterville-Elysian-Morristown senior Tate Harmon can fill it up in a hurry and he clearly displayed that ability Thursday in a 65-41 victory over Cannon Falls in the semifinals of the 2AA North subsection tournament.
By: Nick Gerhardt, The Republican Eagle
WATERVILLE – Waterville-Elysian-Morristown senior Tate Harmon can fill it up in a hurry and he clearly displayed that ability Thursday in a 65-41 victory over Cannon Falls in the semifinals of the 2AA North subsection tournament.
Harmon scored 34 points, 22 of which came in the first half, to lead the third-ranked Buccaneers (26-2) to another matchup with second-ranked St. Peter in the subsection finals Monday at Minnesota State University, Mankato. St. Peter defeated W-E-M 92-66 Feb. 21 in St. Peter.
Harmon outscored the third-seeded Bombers (21-8) by himself behind six 3-pointers in the first half to give second-seeded W-E-M a 34-16 lead at halftime.
“Harmon doesn’t need much,” Cannon Falls head coach Josh Davisson said. “He can catch the ball and shoot. We don’t have another guy in the conference that can do that.”
The Bombers encountered a lot of things they hadn’t seen before with the Buccaneers, especially an active press that can wreak havoc on opponents. W-E-M forced 20 turnovers and knocked down shots in a hurried pace.
Midway through the first half the Buccaneers built an 11-point lead and Harmon already had 13 points.
“We expected a fast pace,” Cannon Falls senior Cedric Dicke said. “It wasn’t like we were surprised or anything. Even Coach said we’re going to turn it over, just don’t turn the turnover into two or three or four and let it snowball.”
That’s exactly what happened to the Bombers despite keeping pace early. W-E-M led 13-7 when Cannon Falls had four consecutive turnovers and failed to hit a field goal for an eight-minute stretch.
Dicke finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds in his final game as a member of the Bombers. Junior Paul Rolfes scored 13 points for Cannon Falls, which shot 17 of 46 from the field for 36 percent and 1 of 8 from 3-point range.
The Buccaneers, which finished third at state last season, feature a senior-laden guard group that pressured the Bombers’ inexperienced backcourt into mistakes. Cannon Falls has just one senior on the team in Dicke and relies on a pair of sophomores and a junior to handle the ball.
“It was a good experience for our guys, especially the young ones to feel that pressure and what it’s going to be like to get to the next level,” Davisson said. “Not only are they pressuring but they are physical with those guards and that’s something that our guys aren’t used to.”
The Bombers did have a size advantage in the post, but the Buccaneers pressure extended into the halfcourt and denied entry passes into the post.
“The game plan was to try to control the tempo by getting the ball inside,” Davisson said. “We knew we had a size advantage on them, but their guards are just so good up top we really struggled against that pressure to get the ball inside.”
W-E-M shot 40 percent from the field and got 14 point from Zach Erdman. Grant Pope scored nine points and had eight assists.
Cannon Falls won the Hiawatha Valley League Blue Division title and more than 20 games for the first time since 1957, but there’s more work to be done, Davisson said.
“This is a place where we want to be,” Davisson said. “We want to get to compete for a subsection and a section title. We don’t get to see this kind of pressure every day and it’s only going to make us better.”