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Boys Basketball: Tigers advance to section semifinals

Lake City's fans celebrate the Tigers' 77-51 victory Thursday against Kingsland at Lincoln High School in Lake City. Photo by Chris Harrell1 / 6
Lake City senior Ben Schramski puts up a 3-pointer during Thursday's game against Kingsland. He had 17 points in the Tigers' 77-51 win. Photo by Chris Harrell2 / 6
Lake City's Reid Lundell fights his way past a Kingsland defender during Thursday's game in Lake City. Lundell had 11 points and three assists. Photo by Chris Harrell3 / 6
Lake City senior Matt Herzig finds an opening in the Kingsland defense Thursday at Lincoln High School in Lake City. Photo by Chris Harrell4 / 6
Lake City's Coleman Sweeney drives into the lane against Kingsland Thursday in the Section 1AA-West Subsection quarterfinals in Lake City. Sweeney had 10 points in the Tigers' 77-51 victory. Photo by Chris Harrell5 / 6
Lake City's starters cheer on their teammates during the second half of Thursday's 77-51 victory over Kingsland. Photo by Chris Harrell6 / 6

LAKE CITY - Lake City made quick work of Kingsland Thursday, never trailing in a 77-41 victory in the quarterfinals of the Section 1AA-West Subsection at Lincoln High School.

The Tigers led by more than 10 points for 27 minutes, 30 seconds of the game.

"We got out of the gate quick," Lake City head coach Shawn Sweeney said. "If anything, we were a little too amped up. I thought we played really well. We got up and in control. We could have been more patient on offense. We've got some things to work on."

Coleman Sweeney was back on the court for the Tigers after dealing with an ankle injury most of the year and reinjuring it Feb. 19 against Byron. Sweeney finished with 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting and two assists while playing just 14 minutes on Thursday.

"He plays very unselfishly," Shawn Sweeney said. "He's going to find the open guy and our guys know that. He has a high basketball IQ."

Lake City (21-4) had 11 players score in the win, with Ben Schramski and Jake Griebenow each scoring a team-high 17 points. Reid Lundell added 11 points. Brady Kuchinka had a team-high eight rebounds.

Filip Swanson finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Knights and Marshall Oeltjen contributed 11 points and six rebounds in the loss.

The Tigers' swarming defense took over from the start, causing two turnovers in Kingsland's first three possessions and turning it into a 6-0 lead. That was a consistent trend throughout the game as the Knights turned the ball over 17 times and Lake City capitalized with 23 points off turnovers.

"We pride ourselves on coming out and pressuring teams into turnovers and turning that into layups and easy shots in transition," Coleman Sweeney said. "We have a lot of experience and we come out focused and ready to go right away."

Kingsland fought back to 13-10 with 12:39 remaining in the first half but didn't score again until the 7:29 mark as the Tigers built a 26-12 lead. The one blemish in the first half for Lake City came in the final seconds as Quinn Larson knocked down a 3-pointer for the Knights with five seconds left and Lenny Moore stole the ensuing inbounds pass and scored to end the half on a 7-0 run.

Schramski had all 17 of his points in the first half as Lake City took a 37-21 lead into halftime.

The Tigers recovered quickly as Lundell scored the first three points out of the break and the Tigers led by at least 17 points the rest of the way. Lake City emptied the bench with nearly five minutes remaining as 14 Tigers played in the game.

With Kingsland out of the way, Lake City can shift its focus to second-seeded and seventh-ranked Rochester Lourdes.

The Tigers seek revenge for a loss to the Eagles in the Section 1AAA football finale in the fall and an 83-53 drubbing on the basketball court Jan. 22 in Rochester.

Coleman Sweeney, who injured his ankle in the first quarter of the Section 1AAA football championship game, is ready to face Rochester for the first time since the injury.

"We have unfinished business with football season," he said. "We have focused on taking care of that business."

"Our guys believe in themselves," Shawn Sweeney added. "We're going to find out Tuesday."

The Section 1AA-West Subsection semifinal begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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