Braves eliminate Laporte from playoffs

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Menahga opened the game with a 15-0 run and followed with a 21-5 spurt to take control in an 88-46 win over Laporte in the first round of the Section 5A North boys basketball tournament Monday night at Menahga.

Damon Howard scored on a layup and hit two 3-pointers and Kirby Hrdlicka converted a three-point play off a rebound and scored off a steal to give the No. 8-seeded Braves a 15-0 lead with 13:03 to play in the first half.

Laporte, the No. 9 seed, stayed within 25-14 at the 7:05 mark before Menahga used two layups by Luke Wurdock, a layup off a steal by Al Pietila, and a layup and two 3-pointers by Charlie Steidler-Thompson to claim a 46-19 lead with 1:51 to play in the first half. Another 3-pointer by Steidler-Thompson gave the Braves a 49-26 advantage at the break.

Howard hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored on two layups while Pietila, Canton Matson and Charlie Hodge scored inside as the Braves pushed the lead to 76-40 with 8:15 to play. Tristan Aho's two inside baskets, a layup off a steal by Zach Floyd, a 3-pointer by Wade Berttunen and a layup off a steal by Mason Hotakeinen capped off the scoring for Menahga.

Howard finished with 25 points, Steidler-Thompson scored 15 points and Hrdlicka added 10 points as the Braves improved to 12-14.

Reid Grandy had 20 points and Riley Kline added 10 points for Laporte, which ended the season with a 4-22 record.

"I thought we came out assertive and confident and jumped out to a strong lead. That was very important for us," said Menahga head coach Jeremy Nordick. "We finally found some continuity offensively and defensively we ran multiple defenses and we were able to create steals and turnovers. It was good to see our guys play with a sense of urgency as well."

LAPORTE: Johannsen 0 0-1 0, Kline 4 0-1 10, Hegg 3 2-2 9, Grandy 7 2-4 20, Bialke 1 0-0 2, Wagner 1 0-0 3, Sconce 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 (FG), 4 for 8 (FT).

MENAHGA: D. Howard 8 5-6 25, Pietila 2 2-2 6, L. Wurdock 2 3-4 7, Hrdlicka 4 2-2 10, Matson 3 0-0 6, Floyd 1 1-2 3, Steidler-Thompson 5 2-2 15, A. Wurdock 0 0-2 0, Berttunen 1 0-0 3, Hotakeinen 1 0-1 2, Hodge 1 0-1 2, J. Howard 1 3-3 5, Aho 2 0-2 4. Totals: 31 (FG), 18 for 27 (FT).

Halftime: Menahga 49, Laporte 26. Three-pointers: Kline 2, Hegg 1, Grandy 4, Wagner 1, D. Howard 4, Steidler-Thompson 3, Berttunen 1. Team foul: Laporte 17, Menahga 15.