Knights pull away from Falcons for 65-48 victory in 3A-South semis

Two teams that combined to produce one of the most exciting regular season games in Class A will meet again Saturday for the Section 3A-South championship.

The fifth-ranked Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights defeated Red Rock Central 65-48 Thursday in the Section 3A-South semifinals in Worthington to set up a rematch with third-ranked Southwest Minnesota Christian.

RTR and SWC, the top two seeds in the sub-section, played Jan. 5 at Southwest Minnesota State University with the Eagles fighting their way to an 80-78 overtime victory. Neither team has lost a game since then, as RTR (27-1 overall) has won 19 in a row while the Eagles are riding a 21-game winning streak after defeating Hills-Beaver Creek 70-52 Thursday in the other sub-section semifinal.

The two teams will meet again at 2:30 p.m. Saturday back in the R/A Facility at SMSU.

Thursday’s game between RTR and RRC (16-10) was tight in the early going. The Knights led 29-22 at the half before pulling away en route to a 17-point win.

RTR junior guard Brett Peterson continued his strong season with a solid playoff performance. He scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, helping RTR to a 41-24 edge on the boards. Brett Vercruysse also had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Newt Dunblaizer added eight points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

Shay Wabeke also reached double figures in scoring for the Knights with 11 points.

Red Rock Central’s two star seniors both ended their careers with strong games. Center Henry Rogotzke scored 20 points to go with six rebounds and a pair of blocks before fouling out. And guard Jeff DeCock scored 20 points, had six rebounds and dished out four assists.

No other Falcon player scored more than three points in the game.