Tigers advance to 2A title game

ST. PETER — In a game that featured the top two seeds for the Section 2A, South Subsection championship, Springfield left little doubt who the best team was.

The Tigers went point-for-point with No. 1 seed Waterville-Elysian-Morristown early on and never let their foot off the gas pedal. Springfield will return to the Section 2A title game on Friday after it crushed WEM 93-64 at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Springfield (26-2) plays Minnesota Valley Lutheran, a 72-56 winner over New Ulm Cathedral in the North Subsection championship.

The Tigers were once again led by the duo of Isaac Fink and Decker Scheffler. Fink used his ability to drive and get to the basket to finish with a game-high 32  points. Scheffler, meanwhile, was just as dangerous and he finished with 23 points. Mitchell Leonard was also big inside, scoring 12 for the Tigers.

“We knew that they were going to try to run their offense and get good looks, and they did and they were making shots, so credit to them,” Fink said. “I just thought from the start, we made it our game and once we got the lead, they had to play up to our style and our game.”

The Tigers were able to keep the pace to their advantaged and pushed it up the floor all game. That led to some easy looks and it eventually wore down the Buccaneers.

“We’re deep on our bench so we can just run, run, run, we know we’re going to have subs coming in and push the ball,” Scheffler said. “Once we got the ball in the half-court offense, when we had to, we scored.”

The Tigers’ lead grew to double digits (27-16) when Scheffler scored with about 8 minutes left. It stayed double digits the rest of the way and they led 48-36 at halftime.

“When you’re going into halftime with a 12-point lead, it’s definitely nice and we didn’t let off the gas pedal,” Scheffler said. “We were just trying to find some mismatches, because they switched on the screens and it was one of their smaller guys on some of our bigger guys, so we took advantage of that.”

The Tigers raced out to a 19-6 advantage to start the second half, leaving little doubt in the end. A 3-pointer by Mason Kretsch made it 67-42 with 12:05 left in the game.

The lead later grew to 76-53 on a basket by Nolan Hovland and the Tigers moved on to Mankato. They will play Tomahawk Conference rival MVL and the teams split the season series.

“I was kind of expecting it actually,” Scheffler said. “I figured if we got to Mankato, it was going to be against a Tomahawk team, that’s how the Tomahawk was this year.”