Jaret Johnson scored 24 points and Camden Arndt scored 13 to lead Morris Area / Chokio-Alberta boys basketball team to a win over Minnewaska in the Section 3AA-North semifinals on Thursday, March 7, in Willmar.
"Minnewaska is really good, and it's a really big rivalry so to win, especially senior year it's one of the best feelings," Johnson said. "And to come in the playoffs, that's even better."
The Tigers earned revenge after ending last season in a 58-51 overtime defeat to Minnewaska, who went on to play in the Class AA state tournament. Even in the waning moments of a single-digit game, though, Johnson said this year felt a bit different.
"I got the first one-and-one (free throw opportunity) and Camden [Arndt] came up to me and said, 'Let's not do what we did last year,'" Johnson said of the Tigers, who lost the game at the free throw line against Minnewaska last season in the playoffs. "This felt really similar but it felt more our sided."
Arndt, meanwhile, posted a strong all-around game and helped to seal things near the end with a pair of dazzling spinning drives to the hoop. He finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for his third double-double performance of the season.
"That's just Cam Arndt," Johnson said. "As long as I've been playing with him, he's done stuff like that so it was no surprise to me."
Minnewaska's Grant Jensen scored 22 points and Shawn Carsten had 11 points. The Lakers wrapped their season 18-9.
“Johnson hit some big shots while being defended well,” Minnewaska head coach Phil Johnsrud told the Echo Press of the game. “(Freshman center Jackson) Loge demands so much attention and their guards shoot well enough from the perimeter that it made it difficult for us to defend the trio of Arndt, Johnson and Loge all at the same time. Arndt did what a senior four-year starter should do and that was create and hit big driving shots while (Shawn) Carsten had a hand in his face. An experienced, talented player making big plays when it mattered most.”
Jackson Loge had 11 rebounds and only seven points in the win. He had 43 points in the playoff opener against ACGC Saturday.
The Tigers improved to 18-8 overall and they play No. 4-seeded Redwood Valley for the subsection championship. Redwood Valley upset top-seeded New London-Spicer 67-58 in the earlier game Thursday, in Willmar.
Because of the predicted snow storm Saturday, March 9, the Section 3AA-North championship has been rescheduled to 7 p.m. Monday, March 11, at the Willmar High School.
In Section 3AA-South, No. 1 St. James beat No. 5 Fairmont 58-52 and No. 2 Jackson County Central beat No. 3 Pipestone 66-56 to set up a 1-2 subsection championship at 7 p.m. Monday, March 11, in Worthington.
Morris/C-A 55, Minnewaska 50
Morris/C-A (18-8) 23 32 - 55
Minnewaska (18-9) 23 27 - 50
MORRIS AREA/CHOKIO-ALBERTA - Scoring: Jaden Maanum 3, Camden Arndt 13, Jackson Loge 7, Durgin Decker 8, Jaret Johnson 24 ... 3-point shots: Maanum 1, Decker 1, Johnson 3 ... Rebound leader: Arndt 11, Loge 11, Johnson 8 ... Assist leader: Arndt 5, Maanum 3 ... Steal leader: Johnson 3
MINNEWASKA - Scoring: Jack Blevins 7, Grant Jensen 22, Ryan Amundson 5, Aaron Ver Steeg 3, Luke Barkeim 2, Shawn Carsten 11 ... 3-point shots: Blevins 1, Jensen 1, Amundson 1, Ver Steeg 1, Carsten 2 ... Rebound leader: Carsten 6, Ver Steeg 4 ... Assist leader: Jensen 4 ... Steal leader: Blevins 2