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Boys basketball: Second-half surge sends Irish to section finals

The Rosemount boys’ basketball team came alive on the offensive end in the second half of Friday night’s Section 3AAAA semifinals as it rallied past Eastview 60-55 at Tiger Gym in Farmington.

The Irish put up just 17 points over the first 18 minutes as Eastview clamped down with double teams in the post and hit a few 3-pointers on the other end to take a 28-17 lead. The Irish made the necessary adjustments at halftime and the changes resulted in 43 second-half points and a come-from-behind victory.

The game was tied for the final time at 51-51 before Rosemount guard Myka Edmond drove into the lane for the go-ahead basket.

“We simply started being more aggressive and attacking. We recognized what they were doing against us in the post and found areas in the paint to drive and get to the basket,” Rosemount coach Keenan Shelton said. “We started cutting and putting pressure on their defense, forcing them to guard all five guys.”

Luke Siwek and Ethan Engdahl were held scoreless in the first half before combining for 16 points, eight apiece, down the stretch. Luke Loehr surpassed 500 points for the season with his second straight 23-point effort and Alec Loehr scored 12. Edmond finished with nine. It was the first time this season all five Irish starters scored at least eight points.

The win avenged two five-point losses to Eastview during the regular season. The Irish will try to once again make the third time the charm against state-ranked Apple Valley (26-2) in the Section 3AAAA finals Thursday, March 16, back in Farmington. The Eagles were winners by scores of 75-57 and 62-42 during the South Suburban Conference season.

“We need to limit transition opportunities through good ball security and make every attempt they take tough,” Shelton said.

Shelton singled out the importance of containing Apple Valley’s Tre Jones, who is averaging 30.5 points per game this season. Jones’ older brother, current Minnesota Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones, was Apple Valley’s leading scorer the last time Rosemount reached the section finals in 2012-13. The Eagles defeated the Irish 94-64 in Burnsville and went on to win the Class 4A state title.

The Irish (15-13) are the No. 3 seed in the section. They opened the tournament by defeating No. 6 seed Hastings 70-40 last Tuesday at Irish Gym.

Luke Loehr notched a game-high 23 points. Alec Loehr added 16 and Siwek scored 13.