Dominating the final 10 minutes of play the Redwood Valley boys basketball team advanced into the Section 3AA-North Sub-Section title game with an impressive 67-58 win over New London/Spicer March 7 in Willmar.
With the win, the fourth-seeded Cardinals (14-11) earned a spot in the championship against Morris Area/CA (18-8) – a 55-50 winner over Minnewaska Area – that was originally scheduled for March 9 in Willmar.
With the weather that came Saturday morning the game was moved to March 11 in Willmar at 7 p.m.
The Cardinals entered the postseason feeling a little under appreciated as the number four seed, with a higher QRF total than both Morris Area and Minnewaska Area and a regular season victory over top-seed New London/Spicer.
That said, the chip on their shoulder may have been a good thing, as they took it right to the Wildcats (20-8) from the get-go and never caved in to the pressure of facing the top-seed on essentially their home floor.
The Cardinals played a strong first half, getting Wildcat standout Brandon Adelman – who will play at St. Cloud State next season – into early foul trouble and taking a 33-29 lead into the break.
The Wildcats came out of the first half break on fire, as Ryan Wyganowski knocked down three quick three pointers to give the Wildcats their largest lead at 43-36 with 13:44 to play in regulation.
The gritty Cards would stay patient, however, battling back on a bucket inside from Connor Josephson, a three from senior Cole Woodford and another basket from Carter Guetter that tied the score at 43 with 11:23 to play.
NL/Spicer would reclaim the lead, but Guetter would score again, Woodford buried another three and Josephson scored inside to give the Cards a 50-46 advantage. Guetter then upped the lead to six, and a Kyle Huhnerkoch three would make it 55-48.
The Wildcats had one last run in them, cutting the lead to two on an Adelman three-point play, but with the score 55-53, Redwood Valley would go on a 9-2 run to go up 64-55 with less than a minute to play in the game.
Adelman fouled out in the process, and the Wildcats had no answer on the offensive end as the Cards sank some late free throws and salted away a big win.
It was a huge game for Josephson who has blossomed as the season has gone on as a jack of all trades player for the Cards. He would finish with an impressive double-double of 16 points, 19 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Cole Woodford would finish with 15 points, six rebounds and three assists, and Guetter had eight points. Huhnerkoch, Colin Wells and Bryant Haas all added six points, Carson Woodford finished with five and Bronson Smith had three points.
The Cards held Adelman to just 10 points, Wyganowski had 11 and the Wildcats finished just 5-of-30 from three-point range.