Wesley Richert earns a chance at the free-throw line after being fouled by a Houston player.
Wesley Richert earns a chance at the free-throw line after being fouled by a Houston player.
The Cougars hosted a 1A East sub-section play-in game on Feb. 26. Two nights later, they hit the road for Lanesboro, facing the Burros in quarterfinal action.

Mabel-Canton versus Houston

M-C brought a No. 7 seeding into the fray, hosting No. 10 Houston. The result was a 63-48 win for the Cougars.

The Hurricanes favored a slower ball-control pace in the first period, but the up-tempo Cougars charged out to a 31-8 halftime lead.

"We played extremely well in the first half," M-C coach Doug Wyffels said. "In the second half we were just kind of hanging on."

Later in the game, the Houston press frustrated Cougar subs. That resulted in a series of turnovers and helped Houston outscore M-C 40-32 in the second period, Wyffels noted.

Free throws favored the home team, with M-C taking nearly twice as many strolls to the foul line (26 to 14) and hitting for 10 more points (19-9). That translated into a very good 73 percent for the Cougars.

Starting for Mabel-Canton were Hunter Johnson at guard, Donnie Lind at forward, guard Noah Manning, center Collin O'Bieglo, and Justin Ward at the other forward position.

Ward led all scorers with 18 points on the night. The junior also had 4 rebounds and a steal to his credit. Classmate Johnson wasn't far behind on the scoreboard, hitting two for three from beyond the arc while totaling 17 points. He tallied 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 assists with no turnovers.

Lind and Manning scored 6 points each. Each had 4 rebounds as well. Manning led the team in assists, dishing for 8 with only 2 turnovers. He also had 3 steals.

Senior Logan Henry came off the bench for 4 points and 3 rebounds. O'Bieglo and Mitch Kuhn had three points apiece, with the junior center hitting his all at once with a single shot attempt from three-point range (100 percent). O'Bieglo snagged 4 rebounds while Kuhn had 2.

Keyser Wenthold and Mac Nelson scored 2 points each, while Wes Richert and Dustin Kerns had one point each. Nelson had 2 assists with no turnovers.

Junior forward Sam Ross led the Hurricanes with 14 points. Classmate Mason Drake was also in double figures with 10.

Mabel-Canton at Lanesboro Section 1A East Quarterfinal

M-C met up with second seeded LHS on Thursday, falling to the Burros by a score of 82-49.

Fueled by seven of their signature three-balls, Lanesboro streaked out to a 25-7 lead eight minutes into the contest, but the Cougars clawed back to within four (34-30) at the break. But that's when the shots stopped falling for M-C.

The second half was frustrating for Cougar shooters, as the basket seemed to suddenly have a lid nailed on. "We shot 37 percent to their 41 percent in the first half. In the second period, Lanesboro shot 60 percent to our 24 percent," Wyffels noted.

Manning and Johnson scored 15 points each for M-C. Both hit some big three-pointers during the Cougars' first-half run. Ward added 10, followed by Wenthold (6), and Lind (3).

On the night, the Burros made 15 of 29 trey attempts (51percent). Mabel-Canton hit 8 of 32 from beyond the arc (25 percent). Free throws were not a factor. Lanesboro only made 9 trips to the line, hitting 5. M-C visited the charity stripe even less, sinking 3 of 4 tries.

The battle of the boards went to LHS by a 38-27 margin. For the Cougars, Manning led with 7 rebounds (4 offensive and 3 defensive). Lind had 6, followed by Johnson with 5. Ward grabbed 4 rebounds, while Wenthold tallied 3. Henry and O'Bieglo had 1 each.

Kole Ruud led all scorers with 29 points. The junior guard also had 4 steals and 6 assists. Classmate Luke Rogers contributed 22 points, canning 6 of 12 three-point tries. He led the Burros in glass cleaning with 11 rebounds.

"It was a nice opening round win," LHS Coach John Smith said. "The first half consisted of each team having a good run. We started out shooting well and playing well defensively but M-C finished the half strong creating some turnovers against us..."

The Burros did a better job on the defensive boards in the second period, Smith noted. That severely limited second chances for the Cougars.

"We were again without starter Garret Boggs but the other boys all stepped up and played well," he said. "Daulton Gartner played very well again coming off his injury finishing with a double-double as well as did Luke Rogers having a another double-double for the game."

M-C finishes with a record of 7-20 on the season.