Zumbrota-Mazeppa faced a scrappy opponent in Pine Island on Thursday, but the Cougars ultimately prevailed, 63-49.
The Cougars built their first-half lead with a combination of strong rebounding and a suffocating trap defense that led to contested shots or Panthers turnovers on nearly every possession. At the half, Z-M held onto a 32-21 lead.
The Panthers were not going to be dismissed easily however. Pine Island countered Z-M's trap defense by driving to the basket and getting to the free-throw line, which let them control the pace and get back in the game. With less than six minutes remaining, Z-M saw their lead slip to just four points. The Cougars would close the remaining minutes on a 15-5 run to ensure a trip to the Section 1AA quarterfinals.
Jacob Niebuhr led the Cougars with 21 points and nine rebounds. Isaiah Nolte had 13 points, Robvon Jackson 12 and Zach Hutton eight.
The Panthers were led by Joe Bauer's 15 points. Jacob Weber had 14 points and Josh Navratil had eight points and 10 rebounds.
Z-M (20-6) will advance to face No. 3 seed Byron on Monday at Mayo Civic Center. The Cougars lost to the Bears in the last game of the regular season.
Pine Island concludes their season at 9-16.
Lake City 82, Cotter 41
Cotter never stood a chance against No. 2 seed Lake City as the Tigers ran away with an 82-41 victory on Thursday in the opening round of the Section 1AA tournament.
Lake City opened the game on a run for the ages, holding a 44-4 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the first half. The Tigers have now won 14 straight games.
Lake City benefited from a well-balanced attack. Nathan Heise led with 18 points, Marc Kjos scored 17, Reid Gastner 11, Charlie White 10 and Zach Bremer nine. Bremer also had a team-high 10 rebounds.
Cotter’s leading scorers were Josiah Sandcork with 10 and Austin Griffin with seven points.
Lake City (23-3) will advance to the quarterfinals to play Stewartville on Monday. Lake City won both matchups during the regular season.
Goodhue 47, Schaeffer Academy 45
Goodhue won a back-and-forth Section 1A opening round matchup against Schaeffer Academy, 47-45 on Thursday.
Scoring came at a premium for both teams as the Wildcats held onto a slim 26-25 lead at the half. Both teams defenses tightened up in the second half as a result, but Goodhue was able to keep the upper hand as time expired.
Mitchell Hemenway had a team-high 14 points for Goodhue, while Ethan Schafer had 11 and Sam Opsahl finished with 10. Hemenway also grabbed eight rebounds.
Kad Schwartz led the Lions with 15 points, Cole Bothun had 13 and Christian Lahr had eight.
Goodhue (11-16) advances to the quarterfinals to face No. 2 seed Spring Grove (22-5) on Monday.
St. Charles 78, Cannon Falls 63
Cannon Falls was unable to keep pace with No. 4 seed St. Charles as the Bombers fell in the opening round of the Section 1AA tournament on Thursday, 78-63.
Cannon Falls was thinking upset in the early stages of the game as they kept the score tight in the first half and took a 32-32 tie into the break. However, the Fighting Saints kicked into high gear in the second half, outscoring the Bombers by 15 points.
Issac Illa had a team-high 19 points for the Bombers. Ryan Dirckx scored 18 points and Brodie Hansen also had eight.
Drew Leistikow paced the Fighting Saints with 25 points, followed by Kaden Vaughn 18, Keagan Maloney 16 and Nolan Boice 11.
Cannon Falls concludes their season at 11-16.
Lyle/Pacelli 60, Randolph 54
Randolph was upset at their home court in the first round of the Section 1A tournament, losing to Lyle/Pacelli, 60-54 on Thursday.
The teams had split the regular season series, with each winning by more than 10 points. In a win-or-go-home third matchup between the two teams, Randolph found itself in a hole early, and one it was unable to dig out of. At the end of the first half, the Athletics enjoyed a 24-13 lead. While Randolph found shooting to be easier in the second half — scoring 41 points — so too did the Athletics, who scored 36.
The Rockets had three players reach double digits: Joey Erickson with 17 points, Nick Drinken with 15 and Andrew Wenstrom with 11.
The Athletics also had a trio in double digits: Trinity Anderson had 23 points, Zach Bollingsberg 16 and Jed Nelson 13.
Randolph concludes their season at 19-8.