Northfield Defensive Change Key to Win Over Winona
The Northfield Raiders boys basketball team came from behind Monday night to defeat the Winona Winhawks 66-64 in the Section 1 Class 3A semifinals at the Rochester Mayo Civic Arena. Winona appeared to be in control most of the game. The Winhawks led 35-27 at the half and enjoyed a 12 point lead and two 10 point leads in the second half.
Then Raiders Head Coach Andy Berkvam had his team implement a 1-2-2 half court trapping press, mixed in a little 1-3-1 and man defense for good measure and it was a recipe for success. Winona turned the ball over with regularity allowing Northfield to take the lead. Down the stretch the Raiders hit their free throws and the Winhawks did not. Those free throws proved to be the difference.
Northfield was 12 of 15 and Winona 8 of 14 at the free throw line. Clutch free throws were hit in the final couple minutes by senior 6'8 Jackson Schlaak (son of Bethlehem Academy state tournament team member Tim Schlaak) and sophomore Kip Schetnan.
During one stretch when Northfield came from down 7 to take the lead senior 6'7 Mason Zick took the team on his back and hit big shot after big shot. He also collected some rebounds. Zick had 3 points at the half and finished with 25 including a transition dunk.
Mitchell Stanchina talllied 12 points for the Raiders and was the most effective player at the top of the half court trap. His size combined with Zick and others made it difficult for Winona senior 6'0 Terrell Hall to see at times forcing him into passes that were picked off by Northfield.
Winona ended their season 18-10. The Raiders will play 6:00 p.m. Thursday for the Section title against the Austin Packers. Austin defeated Red Wing 67-40.