The Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers boys basketball team won 71-66 tonight in a hard fought game against a talented Nicollet Raiders team.  The game at Lake Crystal-Wellcome-Memorial High School was played before a packed house.

They got their money's worth.  I always enjoy watching Buccaneers Head Coach Jeff Wagner and his staffs over the years make adjustments in the game both on offense and defense.  The Raiders had two exceptionally talented players in 6'6 junior Shane Stevenson and 6'2 guard Riley Hulke who combined for 51 of the team's points.

Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 6'1 sophomore Domanik Paulson and 6'3 senior Grant McBroom combined for 31 of the team's 36 first half points.  6'3 senior Cole Kokoscke took over in the second half, scoring 17 points.

The Buccaneers led 36-32 at the half thanks to 9 three point baskets compared with 2 for Nicollet.

The free throw line proved to be the difference with WEM going 13 for 23 in the game and the Raiders were 8 of 13.  In the first half free throws kept Nicollet close.  They were 6 of 8 while the Buccaneers went 1 for 4.

The game was closer than it probably should have been down the stretch because of the poor free throw shooting by WEM.  They were 12 of 19 in the second half but did cash in late connecting on 10 of their last 12 free throws to keep the Raiders scrambling.

Waterville-Elysian-Morristown finished the game with 12 three point baskets led by Paulson's 7.  McBroom had 4 and Matthew VanHoudt 1.   The Raiders had 6 three point buckets.

Stevenson finished the game with 29 points scoring in a variety of ways.  He had two 3 point baskets, was nearly automatic when he shot in the lane and did not miss many layups. Hulke ended his NIcollet career with a 22 point effort including 4 of the team's 6 three point baskets.

Paulson finished the game with 24 points.  McBroom tallied 21 points.  KoKoschke had 17 points.

The Raiders end their season with a 21-6 record.  The 26-2 Buccaneers will play 25-3 Springfield who had a close 79-74 win over Mountain Lake-Comfrey.  The game will be Monday night at 7:45 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

Don't miss the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Section title game with Sleepy Eye St. Mary's Friday night at 5:45 p.m. on KDHL 920 AM and the FREE KDHL app.

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