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Panthers fall to Maple River in sub-section

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TWO POINTS — NRHEG senior Matt Carlson sets up and fires in two points during the Panthers' sub-section loss to Maple River at Mapleton Tuesday night. Coach Pat Churchill said Carlson's shooting kept NRHEG in the game. (Star Eagle photos by Chris Schlaak)

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DRIVING IN TRAFFIC — NRHEG senior Tyler Sorenson (11) drives past Maple River's Josiah Breiter during the Panthers' sub-section loss to at Mapleton Tuesday night.

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FINAL GAME — NRHEG senior Lucas Meyer brings the ball up court against Maple River during the Panthers' sub-section loss to Maple River at Mapleton Tuesday night. It was the final high school game for Blowers and six other NRHEG seniors.


By JIM LUTGENS

Editor/Publisher

There were a number of turning points in the NRHEG boys’ basketball team’s sub-section opener at Maple River Tuesday night.

None of them went the Panthers’ way.

The tall, talented third-seeded Eagles took an early lead and held off every charge the sixth-seeded Panthers could muster before pulling away with a 67-49 decision at Mapleton.

“The score was not indicative of how I thought this game went tonight,” said Panthers coach Pat Churchill, whose team finished 9-17 overall while losing many close contests.

The Eagles, now 19-7, started the game on a 7-0 run. The Panthers played them to a standstill after that, sparked by 13 first-half points from Matt Carlson.

NRHEG girls one win away from state

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CELEBRATE — Members of the NRHEG girls' basketball team celebrate during the final moments of the Panthers' 69-50 victory over Blue Earth Area for the Section 2AA South Sub-Section championship Monday night at Minnesota State Mankato. The Panthers improved to 29-0 for the season. They're scheduled to meet St. Peter Friday at 8 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter for the Section 2AA championship and a berth in the state tournament. From left: Hannah Lundberg, Raelin Schue, Anna Schlaak, Jade Schultz, Carlie Wagner and Tori Raimann. (Star Eagle photo by Chris Schlaak)


By JIM LUTGENS

Editor/Publisher

The upset alert lasted only one game for the NRHEG girls’ basketball team.

The Panthers, who survived a test from Hayfield earlier in the week, had their way with Blue Earth Area 69-50 to win the Section 2AA South Sub-Section championship at Minnesota State Mankato Monday night.

It puts the Panthers 29-0 for the season and one win away from the state tournament. They play St. Peter Friday at 8 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.


Unlike Friday, when the Panthers were sluggish in a 45-32 semifinal victory over fourth-seeded Hayfield at New Richland, NRHEG handled second-seeded BEA for the second time this season, building a 13-4 lead midway through the first half. It was 34-23 at the break.

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UP IN THE AIR — NRHEG's Dustin Esplan lifts Jesus Romero of Pelican Rapids during the opening round of the state tournament Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Esplan dominated the match 14-1. (Star Eagle photos by Chris Schlaak)

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SHOW HIM THE LIGHTS — Dustin Esplan puts Jesus Romero of Pelican Rapids on his back during the opening round of the state tournament Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

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ALL BUSINESS — NRHEG head wrestling coach Paul Cyr, left, leads Seth Petranek to his first match in the state tournament Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

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HEARTBREAKER — NRHEG's Seth Petranek lifts James Nelson of ACGC during the opening round of the state tournament Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Petranek was the aggressor in the match but lost a heartbreaking 2-1, four-overtime decision on a controversial call.


By JIM LUTGENS

Editor/Publisher

NRHEG took two wrestlers and some high hopes to the 2012 state tournament.

They did not come home empty-handed.

Seniors Dustin Esplan and Seth Petranek earned medals, finishing fourth and sixth, respectively, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul last weekend.

“Even tough I wish boys guys could have ended their seasons with a victory, I am extremely proud of the way they competed and represented NRHEG at the state tournament,” said Panthers coach Paul Cyr.

For both, it meant a lot of wrestling. It included highlights, heartbreak and redemption.