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Playing like a top seed

Stewartville will play Dover-Eyota for title

Post-Bulletin staff

Stewartville was viewed as the cream of the Section One, Class AA boys basketball West Subsection crop, even described by one Rochester-area coach as having the best talent in the entire section.

Well, after two games in the tournament, that view doesn’t look too far off. Stewartville rarely looked better this season than it did Tuesday night as it dismantled No. 4 seed Kingsland 76-53 in the subsection semifinals at Mayo Civic Arena.

That sets up a meeting with surprising No. 6 seed Dover-Eyota in Saturday’s championship. The Eagles built a nice lead, then had just enough to hang on and beat fellow surprising semifinalist Lake City 44-37 on Tuesday. Senior forward Matt Biehn led the Eagles with 19 points.

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D-E was just 11-16, while Lake City was 7-17. Both had scored upsets in the quarterfinals.

It was Stewartville’s smothering defense on Kingsland star guard Josh Hagan, as well as the offensive power of 6-foot-4 forward Tom Gisler that were the biggest difference makers Tuesday. The Tigers’ zone defense, which double-teamed Hagan whenever he got the ball, held the senior to 19 points. Hagan was averaging 25, and has had a handful of 40-point games this season.

Gisler jumped and powered his way to a game-high 26 points. Still, he went away not talking about his offense, but his team’s defense.

"We know that we have the offense to win games, but if we can come out and play great defense, we can really be good," he said.

• In the Section 1AA, East Subsection semifinals at Mayo Civic Auditorium, it was Plainview-Elgin-Millville outlasting Winona Cotter 64-61 in a thriller. The game matched the No. 2 seed (P-E-M) against the No. 3 seed (Cotter), and also saw the return of P-E-M star forward Zach Flies, who had been out the last three weeks with a broken foot.

In the other semifinal, top seed La Crescent had no trouble with No. 4 seed Caledonia, romping to an 82-63 win.

Pages 4C, 5C, 6C:Game stories

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