Irlbeck nets 39 but Redwood Valley collapses in second half of one-point loss
Rallying from a 19-point first half deficit the host Jackson County Central Huskies topped rival Redwood Valley 82-81 Monday night in a Big South Conference West showdown.
In a potential Section 3AA-South Sub-Section title match-up, the Huskies (16-3) avenged an earlier season loss to the Cardinals by outscoring the Cards 57-37 in the second half.
The win was the ninth in 10 games for the Huskies (their only loss in that span at state-ranked Marshall), while the Cardinals dropped their fifth straight.
Despite the loss, the Cardinals are still in position to contend for not only the Section 3AA-South title but the Section 3AA title itself.
If the postseason started today, the Cardinals would be the number two seed in the South despite just a .500 record.
Morris Area/CA (10-7) and NL/Spicer (11-8) would be the top two seeds in the North, as other than JCC, no team has really established itself as the team to beat in the Section.
Monday night the Cards dominated early on en route to a 13-0 lead and would take a commanding 44-25 lead into the break.
It was another huge night for junior Mitch Irlbeck, as he scored 21 of his career-high 39 points in the first half.
He would finish 13-of-18 from the floor, including 3-of-3 from long range and added 10 rebounds and two assists to complete the impressive double-double.
Unfortunately, the Huskies caught fire in the second half and would rally for the victory, as the Cards suffered another tough late game loss.
James Pendleton finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Cole Woodford added 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals, and Logan Josephson snagged eight rebounds.
Turnovers proved costly for the Cardinals, as they suffered 31 miscues, most coming in the second half.
The Cardinals have a chance to get back on track Friday night at home against Luverne as part of a boy/girl doubleheader.
Redwood Valley 81
Cardinal scoring - Irlbeck 39, Pendleton 19, Woodford 14, Charles 3, Benson 3, Josephson 1, Huhnerkoch 1, Hanna 1
Husky scoring - Gumto 21, J.Christopher 19, R.Christopher 14, Feroni 11, Bahr 10, Voss 7