P-E-M has sights on second boys basketball state title in school history

The No. 3 seed Plainview-Elgin-Millville boys basketball team will face unseeded Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in the Class AA state quarterfinals at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Williams Arena.

Lake City, Plainview-Elgin-Millville Section 1AA Boys Basketball Championship
Plainview-Elgin-Millville celebrates with the student section after winning the Section 1AA boys basketball championship game against Lake City on Thursday, March 16, 2023, at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. Plainview-Elgin-Millville will face Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in the Class AA state quarterfinals at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 21 at Williams Arena.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

PLAINVIEW — The last time the Plainview-Elgin-Millville boys basketball team was in the state tournament, the Bulldogs hoisted the championship trophy. They would like nothing more than a repeat of that situation of more than a decade ago.

The Bulldogs won a Class AA state title in 2012 and now they are going back to the state tournament as the No. 3 seed. P-E-M (26-4) takes a 10-game winning streak into its state quarterfinal matchup against unseeded Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (24-6) at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Williams Arena.

“I was thrilled with that,” P-E-M coach Jason Herber said of the No. 3 seed. “And I really love it because I wanted to play at Williams Arena the first game. I just love that place.”

The Bulldogs are thrilled to be in the tournament after falling in triple overtime in the Section 1AA final a year ago against Caledonia.

“Our goal was to get to state and we all bought in every day in practice,” senior standout Aeron Stevens said. “We just worked for it and grinded.”


Herber believes the Bulldogs match up well with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. But the Bulldogs will have to contend with 6-foot-6 point guard Owen Leach, who will play college ball at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Leach scored 50 points in a 77-67 overtime win over New York Mills in the Section 8AA title game. He is a finalist for Mr. Basketball.

“He reminds me a lot of Will Opsahl of Goodhue,” Herber said. “A tall point guard who can shoot from deep range, has good handles and can go to the basket and score inside.”

Herber said the key will be to slow down Leach and make him work for all of his points. Kaiden Peters, a 6-3 senior, is expected to draw the assignment of covering Leach.

“I like that part of the matchup, having Aeron back to protect the rim,” Herber said. “But you get to this point and all the teams are really good.”

Like Leach, the 6-7 Stevens had a great game in the section final. Stevens had 33 points, seven rebounds and six assists in a 58-55 victory against Lake City.

Stevens, who will play college basketball at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, is averaging 23.5 points per game. A big element to Stevens’ game has been his ability to feed open teammates when he draws a double team.

“He’s just had a phenomenal year,” Herber said. “And we know their focus will be on him and maybe Kaiden a little bit.”


Herber hopes the Bulldogs are able to get out in transition on offense in an attempt to get some quick baskets.

“We have to rebound well, too, because the rest of the DGF guys go to the boards pretty well,” Herber said. “We’re going to respect all their players.”

Peters battled an ankle injury at the end of the regular season and at the beginning of section tournament play. He’s still working his way back offensively, but he hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in the section title game.

“I’ve got a feeling he’s going to have a breakout game in one of these games at state,” Herber said.

Holy Family is the No. 1 seed and on the opposite of the bracket as P-E-M. The two teams played in the second game of the season and Holy Family posted a three-point win although the Bulldogs were without Peters.

“We’re hoping we get another shot at them,” Herber said.

Herber could see that happening if the Bulldogs continue their strong play. He said the team’s other starters — Nick Wozney, Jameson Brinkman and Brady Herber — all improved when Peters missed some time with his injury.

“I know Aeron and Kaiden get most of the attention, but we’re not where we’re at without our other three starters and our bench,” coach Herber said.




Tuesday, March 21

At Target Center

No. 1 Holy Family (27-2) vs. Eden Valley-Watkins (24-6), 6 p.m.

No. 4 Maple River (29-2) vs. No. 5 Minneahaha Academy (21-8), 8 p.m.

At Williams Arena

No. 2 Albany (29-1) vs. Pequot Lakes (25-5), 6 p.m.

No. 3 Plainview-Elgin-Millville (26-4) vs. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (24-6), 8 p.m.



Friday, March 24

At Target Center

Holy Family/Eden Valley-Watkins winner vs. Maple River/Minneahaha Academy winner, 6 p.m.

Albany/Pequot Lakes winner vs. Plainview-Elgin-Millville/Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton winner, 8 p.m.


Wednesday, March 22

(At Concordia University)


Holy Family/Eden Valley-Watkins loser vs. Maple River/Minneahaha Academy loser, 6 p.m.

Albany/Pequot Lakes loser vs. Plainview-Elgin-Millville/Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton loser, 8 p.m.


Thursday, March 23

(At Concordia University)

Consolation semifinal winners, 2 p.m.


Saturday, March 25


At Target Center

Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.


Saturday, March 25

(At Concordia University)

Semifinal losers, 12 p.m.

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or
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