BOYS BASKETBALL: Free throws lead TMB to win

MINNEOTA An unstoppable second-half performance by Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Josh Kirk inspired the Panthers to a 78-72 victory over Minneota/Lincoln HI Friday in Minneota.

Kirk knocked down 34 points in the victory, 27 of which came in the second-half. He also hauled down 12 rebounds to lead the team.

“Josh had a marvelous game,” said TMB head coach Rick Haberman. “He really stepped up.”

Playing in its first game of the season, Minneota/Lincoln HI got off to a slow start, allowing the Panthers to take an early 9-3 advantage. A string of TMB fouls allowed the Vikings to settle-in, evening the score 13-all.

Jordan Beck was fouled on a made lay-up and added a free throw to give the Vikings its first lead of the game.

“We expected them to be very hard to guard and they were just that,” Haberman said.

Minneota’s Dylan Tolk picked-up back-to-back lay-ups off of TMB turnovers, pushing the Vikings to a 22-16 lead. Tolk recorded 29 points on the night.

Brady Lanoue responded with a baseline jumper and two free throws to put the Panthers back on-top 26-24.

The contest remained neck-and-neck in the final minutes of the first-half with both teams exchanging the lead. TMB was able to hold onto a 35-34 lead going into half-time.

Kirk opened-up the second-half with a three-pointer from the top of the key, setting the tone for the Panthers. Tolk answered with five points of his own to keep the Vikings within striking distance.

TMB scored 14 unanswered points, led by Kirk’s 10 points, establishing a 56-41 lead and never looked back. The Vikings made-up its deficit, getting back within six points, but it wasn’t enough to slow down the Panthers.

Minneota-Lincoln HI was forced to foul, sending TMB to the free-throw line. The Panthers were 29-for-35 from the line for 83 percent on the night. Kirk was 14 of 17 from the charity stripe.

TMB outlasted the Vikings, closing-out with a 78-72 victory.

“The team really stepped it up tonight,” Haberman said. “We were pleased with our performance as the boys played very hard and competed very hard.”

TRACY-MILROY-BALATON (3-2 OVERALL, 2-1 CAMDEN SOUTH): Brett Swenhaugen 2-4 2-2 6, Riley Kirk 0-2 2-2 2, Josh Kirk 9-19 14-17 34, Spencer Smith 7-15 6-6 20, Brady Lanoue 1-7 5-7 7, Derek Larson 3-6 0-0 9. TOTALS: 22 29-35 (83%) 78.

MINNEOTA/LINCOLN HI (0-1 OVERALL, 0-1 CAMDEN SOUTH): Jeff Gladis 2-2 0-0 5, Dylan Tolk 10-22 4-6 29, Daniel Harrison 7-20 3-6 17, Austin Buysse 1-6 0-0 2, Jordan Beck 4-12 6-7 14, Matthew Knutson 2-8 0-0 5 . TOTALS: 26 13-19 (68%) 72.

HALFTIME: TMB 35, Minneota 34. 3-POINT FIELD GOALS: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 5-18 (Larson 3); Minneota/Lincoln HI 7-28 (Tolk 5). REBOUNDS: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 34 (J. Kirk 12, Smith 8); Minneota/Lincoln HI 37 (Tolk 12, Beck 7). TOTAL FOULS (FOULED OUT): Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 17 (Smith); Minneota/Lincoln HI 25 (Harrison, Buysse, Beck). TECHNICAL FOULS: None. ASSISTS: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 8 (J. Kirk 5); Minneota/Lincoln HI 7 (Gladis 3). STEALS: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 9 (J. Kirk 3, Smith 2, Lanoue 2); Minneota/Lincoln HI 5 (Tolk 5). BLOCKED SHOTS: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 1 (Smith 1); Minneota/Lincoln HI 0. TURNOVERS: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 11; Minneota/Lincoln HI 12.