Upsala took a 32-20 1st half lead, then watched as Battle Lake battled back to a 49-46 2nd half lead. But in the end, Upsala responded to the challenge, out-scoring the Battlers 25-11 down the stretch to win 71-60.
In the 1st half Upsala guards Christian Pekarek and Garrett Wolff penetrated into the lane virtually at will, scoring 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting with 1 assist apiece. In the 2nd half, Battle Lake shut down that path to the basket and Upsala started out 1-of-7 shooting in the half. Meanwhile Petric and Evan Van Erp each scored 2 buckets for Battle Lake while Tyler Ukkelberg and Nick Trosdahl each got 2 assists. Suddely, Battle Lake led 49-46.
But just as suddenly as it had closed, the lane opened back up again for Upsala. Pekarek drove the lane for a pair of layups, then Dylan Zimmerman gave Upsala the lead for good at 51-49 with a steal and coast-to-coast, then Wolff drove the lane for 2. Pekarek hit a 3, then Avery Smieja scored a bucket and a throw on 2 separate offensive boards, and Pekarek drove the lane yet again for 2. Now it was 60-51 inside of 3 minutes and Battle Lake never got closer than 8.
2 years ago Upsala played and lost in this tournament. Now one might think that Battle Lake will take today's experience home with them and prepare to return here themselves. They start a freshman, 2 sophomores and 2 juniors. Junior Dan Marso led Battle Lake with 14 points including 4-of-7 3s, while the freshman Tony Ukkelberg and a sophomore Petric Van Erp each added 10.
Player of the Game: Christian Pekarek with 24 points and 8 boards
Upsala leads Battle Lake 36-30 at halftime in an entertaining, fast-paced, well-played game. The Cardinals seemed to be in control early, leading 13-4 and 15-6. Christian Pekarek and Avery Smieja scored the 1st 8 Upsala points, and 5 different players scored in the 1st 8 minutes of play. Then guard Garrett Wolff took over, scoring 9 points in 4-and-a-half minutes, mainly on drives into the lane, and then he assisted on an Eric Frieler 3. That made it 29-18 and forced a Battle Lake timeout.
Apparently it was a timeout well-spent, though Pekarek quickly made it 32-20. But Tyler Ukkelberg scored 4 of Battle Lake's next 8, including a put-back at :01 to get the Battlers within 6 at the half.
Upsala shot close to 50 percent and Battle Lake closer to 40 in the half, and Upsala had the edge both on 2nd chance points and points off turnovers. Upsala made 7-of-9 FT while Battle Lake did not get to the line.
Wolff was the only player in double figures in the half with 11 points.