Milaca boys at Annandale in sub-section opener

Milaca’s boys basketball team travels to Annandale Thursday, March 7 for a quarterfinal game in the Section 5AA North Sub-Section Tournament at 7 p.m.

Milaca was seeded No. 7 in the sub-section while Annandale was seeded No. 2.

In other quarterfinal games March 7, No.-6 seeded Maple Lake is at No. 3-seeded Foley, No. 1-seeded St. Cloud Cathedral hosts No. 8-seeded Spectrum, and No.-4 seeded Rockford hosts No. 5-seeded Kimball.

The semifinals are Saturday, March 9, at 6 p.m. and 8 at Buffalo High School. The Milaca-Annandale winner will face the Foley-Maple Lake winner at 8 p.m.

The title game is Tuesday, March 12, at 6 p.m. at Dassel-Cokato High School.

Hopes of hosting a boys basketball playoff game ended for Milaca last week as the Wolves lost a pair of Granite Ridge Conference games.

Foley, behind a last-second shot, tipped Milaca 47-44 Thursday, Feb. 21, at Milaca. Becker then dealt the Wolves a 56-50 setback the following night, also at Milaca.

“We had our chances to pull out a win in both games,” said Milaca Coach Dustin Naumann. “But we had some lapses of poor play that cost us.”

Milaca led Foley 25-17 at halftime before the Falcons rallied in the second half and won on a last-second shot that broke a 44-44 tie.

“We should not have been in a position to lose in the finals seconds,” said Naumann. “But, we shot poorly at the free-throw line and we allowed them too many second-chance points. We also failed to make a three-point shot.”

Sophomore forward Mike Garber led Milaca with 15 points and seven rebounds while junior center Matt VanSomeren had nine points and nine rebounds.

The Wolves, who made eight of 15 free throws, had a 32-30 edge in rebounds.

Three-point baskets proved to be the difference against Becker as the Bulldogs, behind junior guard Josh Nohner, finished with an 11-4 edge. Nohner, who finished with 28 points, connected on eight of 11 three-point attempts.

“Becker is a good three-point shooting team and Nohner was on target,” said Naumann. “We held them to six two-point baskets and lost, which is a little unheard of.”

The Wolves held a 19-17 lead at halftime and led much of the second half.

Junior guard Justin Fransen, who sank four three-pointers, paced Milaca with 14 points. Garber added 12 points and seven rebounds while VanSomeren had eight points and eight rebounds and sophomore forward Nick Wolbert scored eight points and had four rebounds.

Milaca slipped to a 3-12 GRC record and 7-15 overall mark. The Wolves close the regular season at St. Cloud Cathedral Friday night, March 1, at 7:30.

“We had two disappointing losses last week but we’re still motivated to finish the regular season on a high note,” said Naumann. “The playoffs are wide open and we want to shore up a few things so we can make some noise there.”