PERHAM, Minn. - Top-seed Henning took command from the opening tip-off running away from second-seeded Mahnomen-Waubun to advance to the Minnesota Class 1A, Section 6 boys tournament championship game after an 82-52 victory Wednesday at The Hive Gymnasium.
The Hornets forced turnovers on the defensive end and turned them into points quickly building a 15-2 lead on the defending section champions three minutes into the game.
“I think there were some jitters going into the game knowing they’d gone to state last year, but we all just came to play and were ready to go against a big team,” said Henning senior guard Blake Wallevand.
The fast-paced transition game of Henning sucked the Thunderbirds out of an early two-three defensive zone.
“Our big thing is we have got to get up and go and when teams do get us into the half-court, in the past, we’ve worked on shooting a lot and we just pulled them out of it,” said Wallevand.
The Thunderbirds battled to keep the deficit in single digits. Jayden Heisler hit a three-point basket at the midway point of the half to close the Henning lead to 18-11.
Back-to-back scoring trips by Parker Syverson minutes later got Mahnomen-Waubun to within five points at 21-16. But the Thunderbirds would get no closer.
Henning finished the half with a 25-9 run with a Brandon Trana putback at the halftime horn to make it 46-25.
The senior guard tandem Wallevand and Sam Fisher and Wallevand combined for 25 of the Hornets' points to match the entire Thunderbird effort for the half. Fisher led all scorers at the break with 14 points.
Henning quickly built a 30-point lead. Adam Lange’s only basket expanded Henning’s lead to 35 points.
Sam Fisher led all scorers with 19 points. Wallevand added 17 and Isaac Fisher scored a dozen. Treston Spalla paced the Thunderbirds with 14 points.
Henning will play Parkers Prairie in a 7 p.m., Friday, section championship game at Minnesota-Morris. Parkers Prairie defeated Ortonville 72-56 at of Minnesota-Morris Wednesday night. Parkers Prairie is the only team to hand Henning (27-1) a loss this season winning in overtime in the final game of the regular season.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to play anyone else,” Wallevand said.
Mahnomen-Waubun ends the season with a record of 19-9.
Halftime: H 46, MW 25
M-W: Spalla 14, Syverson 11, Starkey 8, Heisler 5, Keezer 4, McArthur 3, Pazdernik 3, Guinn 2, Walker 2.
H: Fisher 19, Blake Wallevand 17, Fisher 12, B. Trana 7, Fraki 7, J. Bjorklund 5, Blaine Wallevand 5, Lee Bjorklund 3, Luke Bjorklund 2, D. Trana 2, Lange 2, Angel 1.