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Tigers stay unbeaten in conference with 2-point win over Benson

Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta narrowly defeated Benson 54-52 Friday in a key West Central Conference South contest.

The Tigers remained unbeaten in the conference at 5-0 and went up a half-game on Montevideo. The two leaders meet Tuesday in Montevideo. The T-Hawks are 4-0 in the loop.

"It was the second meeting of the year for the two rivals, but this one had a completely different script," said coach Mark Torgerson. "In the Tiger win by 20 points in December, the Tigers never trailed in the second half. In their win this past Friday night, the Tigers had to erase a seven-point second-half deficit to win the game.

"The Tigers jumped off to a great start, leading 8-1 just three minutes into the game. Chandler Erickson hit a pair of three to force the Braves out of their zone defense. The Braves would answer offensively and the two teams played virtually an even first half over the final 12 minutes.

"Sam Peterson, the Braves' thousand-point post player, led the Benson comeback with a torrid shooting performance," said Torgerson.

The 6-5 senior post nailed nearly every shot he took in the first half and finished the half with 16 points.

The Tigers got eight first-half points from their two inside players, Riley Arndt and Austin Dierks, to keep the score even. The Braves scored the final basket of the half and led 32-30 as the teams went to the locker room at halftime.

"Even though the Tigers scored the first basket inside to start the second half, the Braves went on a little run and led 40-33 just four minutes into the half," explained Torgerson. "The Tigers got a little spark from their bench as they fought hard to get back in the game. Lincoln Berget got a nice inside basket and made one of two free throws to get the Tigers closer."

Logan Manska hit a pair of field goals and Jacob Torgerson connected on a three pointer to close the gap.

"Austin Dierks then literally took over the game for the Tigers on both ends of the floor," added Torgerson. "Dierks connected on several jump shots and all of a sudden the Tigers got the lead back. He also blocked several Benson shots and grabbed some key rebounds down the stretch.

"John Tiernan came off the bench to score two late-half field goals to put the Tigers ahead," Torgerson said. "The Tigers had a 52-48 lead with two minutes to go, but it wasn't over yet. Benson got a basket from Carl Hoffman and Colin Ose to tie the game at 52 all.

"Riley Arndt got a key offensive rebound off a missed Tiger shot with just over 30 seconds to play and went to the line. Arndt missed the one and one attempt, but Dierks snared the rebound away and was fouled on the putback attempt," Torgerson explained. "He nailed both free throws to give the Tigers the lead."

Benson went down and missed on their next possession and were forced to foul Dierks with eight seconds to play. He missed the one and one and the Braves called a time out with three seconds left.

"A last second three by Matt Ahrndt was off and the Tigers had the win."

The Tigers shot 40 percent for the game while the Braves shot 44 percent. The Tigers made only five of their 13 free-throw attempts, but had a 37-30 edge on the boards. Peterson finished with 26 points.

Dierks finished the game with six blocks, seven rebounds, and 17 points.

Morris/C-A 54

Benson 52

Benson 32 20 -- 52

Morris/C-A 30 24 -- 54

MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA - 23-58 FG (3-14 3-pt); 5-13 FT; 37 rebounds; 12 fouls ... Scoring: Brody Bahr 1, Riley Arndt 8, Tom Holland 2, Tyler Henrichs 2, Lincoln Berget 3, Logan Manska 6, Jacob Torgerson 3, Chandler Erickson 8, John Tiernan 4, Austin Dierks 17; 3-point shots: Torgerson 1, Erickson 2; Rebounds: Bahr 4, Arndt 4, Holland 1, Henrichs 1, Torgerson 5, Manska 5, Berget 5, Erickson 2, Tiernan 3, Dierks 7; Assists: Erickson 5, Torgerson 3, Bahr 3, Arndt 1, Holland 1, Berget 1, Manska 1, Tiernan 1, Dierks 1; Steals: Dierks 3, Bahr 2, Holland 1, Manska 1, Torgerson 1, Erickson 1; Blocked shots: Dierks 6, Arndt 1, Berget 1

BENSON - 20-50 FG (2-10 3-pt); 6-8 FT; 30 rebounds; 12 fouls; Scoring: Dan Lee 2, Carl Hoffman 4, Colin Ose 7, Matt Ahrndt 6, Logan Connelly 5, Sam Peterson 26, Jacob Kent 2; 3-point shots: Peterson 2; Rebound leaders: Peterson 10, Ose 7, Hoffman 7