The No. 3-seeded Hancock Owl boys basketball team escaped from the Section 6A-South quarterfinals with a physical 66-60 win over No. 6-seeded Brandon-Evansville on Thursday, March 7, in Hancock.

“We just can never close a game out,” Hancock head coach Cory Bedel said of letting a 15-point falter in the final five minutes of the game. “Hats off to Brandon-Evansville. They fought back and made it a heck of a ball game. When said and done, our guys did step. It is a win. We’ll take it.”

The Owls used a 10-0 run to battle back from a six-point deficit in the first half. Hancock held a seven-point lead (30-23) at the break thanks to a big start from Connor Reese, who finished the half with 10 of his 15 points on the night. He also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

In the second half, Bennett Nienhaus connected for four 3-pointers on his way to 20 second-half points to finish with a game-high 26. Sophomore Preston Rohloff also chipped in 17 points for the Owls.

The Owls advance to the Section 6A-South semifinals where they will face No. 2-seeded Ortonville in a game rescheduled for 7:45 p.m. Monday, March 11, at the University of Minnesota Morris in Morris. Ortonville beat No. 7 Battle Lake 74-44 Thursday, in Ortonville. Top-seeded Parkers Prairie beat No. 8 Wheaton/Herman-Norcross 80-61 and No. 4 West Central Area beat No. 5 Ashby 51-48 to set up the other subsection semifinal game scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, at UMM.

In the Section 6A-North, No. 1 Henning beat No. 8 Frazee 85-48 and will play No. 5 Hillcrest, which beat No. 4 New York Mills 60-50. No. 2 Mahnomen-Waubun beat No. 7 Park Christian 68-44 and will play No. 3 Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal, which beat No. 6 Pelican Rapids 71-56.

Hancock 66, Brandon-Evansville 60

Brandon-Evansville (14-13) 23 37 - 60

Hancock (20-6) 30 36 - 66

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE - Scoring: Tanner Bitzan 18, Sam Fuller 15, Marshall Riedel 12, Keagan Schiele 10, Titus Fuller 3, Eli Anderson 2 ... 3-point shots: Bitzan 2, Riedel 2, T Fuller 1, S Fuller 1 ... Rebound leader: NA ... Assist leader: NA ... Steal leader: NA

HANCOCK - Scoring: Bennett Nienhaus 26, Preston Rohloff 17, Connor Reese 15, Peyton Rohloff 4, Tanner Pahl 2, Brandon Kellenberger 2 ... 3-point shots: Nienhaus 5, Connor Reese 2, Preston Rohloff 2 ... Rebound leader: Connor Reese 10, Peyton Rohloff 7 ... Assist leader: Cole Reese 8, Preston Rohloff 6 ... Steal leader: Nienhaus 3, Preston Rohloff 4, Daniel Milander 4