Springfield boys basketball season ends as Section 2A South champions
Springfield boys basketball ended their season with a championship - but it wasn’t the one they wanted the most.
In a sweeping move that coincided with college and professional sports across the country, the Minnesota State High School League ruled on Friday to cancel all remaining winter sports contests, including state basketball tournaments and section championship games.
If the season was still in play, the Springfield Tigers would have faced off Friday night against Tomahawk Conference rival New Ulm Cathedral in the Section 2A title game for the right to go to the Class A Boys State Basketball Tournament. The Tigers earned this right by winning the Section 2A South Championship, defeating Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 70-66 on Monday, March 9, at Gustavus Adolphus College.
The game was a battle with short runs by both teams, but in the end it was the Tigers who came out on top. In the first half Springfield went ahead as much by eight points, but the Bucs closed the half on a 5-0 run to give the Tigers a three point lead going into the locker room, 42-39. The Bucs took the lead at the start of the second half, but the Tigers regained control and held it for the rest of the game. Springfield outscored WEM 28-27 in the second half to win the game by four, 70-66.
Decker Scheffler led the Tigers with 24 points and eight rebounds. Mitchell Buerkle put up 15 points of his own, and the brothers Ivan and Nolan Hovland had 12 points apiece. Nolan Hovland had a team high five assists and tied with Dylan Rubey to lead the team with one steal each.
“I just feel really bad for this group of seniors,” said Tiger Coach Lance Larson of the decision to cancel the section and state tournaments. “They have worked so hard and have been just a great group to coach and they really deserved a better ending to their season. It needed to be decided on the court, but now they will look back over the years and always wonder what if. They won’t have to wonder about what good kids they are and what good students they are (Section 2A champion All Academic team) and what good young men they have become. They have been a special group and our program will miss them all. Sometimes life isn’t fair and some things are just out of our hands, but they are a resilient group and they will be fine, and they should be very proud of their season and of their Tiger careers.”