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Boys basketball: Irish can't hang with Apple Valley

Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones rises over the Rosemount defense during Saturday’s section semifinals.

For the second straight year Rosemount was overmatched by No. 1-ranked Apple Valley in the Section 3AAAA tournament.

Last year, the Eagles, led by Duke recruit Tyus Jones, pulled away from Rosemount 94-64 in the section finals. With the Irish still missing point guard Garrett Goetz due to injury, and lacking the size to match up in the paint, the Eagles built a 29-point halftime lead Saturday while cruising back to the section finals with a 67-36 win at Farmington High School.

“We did not play our best against Apple Valley,” Rosemount coach Bryan Schnettler said. “They are extremely good and we needed to be at the top of our game in order to have a chance.”

Instead, the Irish managed a season-low 36 points and shot 25 percent from the floor. Cole Northwick scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds in his final game and finishes as school record holder for three-pointers in a game, season and career.

Logan Halvorson added eight points and no one else had more than four.

The loss ended the careers of five seniors — Goetz, Northwick, Matt Stephenson, Andre Nelson and Kyle Liermann — who helped the Irish win their most games (15) in a season and host a section tournament game for the first time since 2003.

“We started out the season 10-3 and beat three top-10 teams during that time. We were up and down the rest of the season as we battled through some injuries,” Schnettler said. “We have a lot of juniors and a few sophomores that gained a lot of great experience this season. Our ninth graders have a lot of potential and this will be a huge off-season for all of our programs. We are looking forward to building off some of the things we did this season and improving for the future!”

The Irish opened Section 3AAAA play by pulling away from Eagan 58-46 in the 4 vs. 5 game last Wednesday at Irish Gym.

Northwick drilled four three-pointers and was a perfect 8 of 8 on free throws while scoring a game-high 20 points. Stephenson added 17 points, nine of which came on 15 trips to the free-throw line, and handed out four assists.

In all, Rosemount scored 44 of its 58 points on threes and free throws.

“We played great on the defensive end against Eagan. The boys executed our game plan extremely well and they played with great effort,” Schnettler said. “It was really fun to see them compete at that level. We did a nice job of being patient on offense and getting to the free throw line.”