East Grand Forks' defense and hot start too much for Bagley
East Grand Forks Senior High guard Cole Anderson admits the team's run-heavy practices aren't always fun.
Green Wave coach Josh Perkerwicz thinks his team always has the advantage of being in the best shape based on how they practice.
On Thursday night, Senior High's pace reflected those feelings.
Anderson scored a game-high 23 points and the Wave's frantic defensive pressure led to a 79-63 win over Bagley in the first round of the Minnesota Section 8AA playoffs.
"That's how we want to start all games," Perkerwicz said. "We owned the pace. We knew at some point in time they'd get tired."
The No. 4-seed Wave (16-11) beat the No. 5 Flyers thanks to a 24-6 start, which featured such quick back-and-forth that the lack of a shot clock was meaningless.
Of those 24 early points, Anderson had 16 with the help of four 3-pointers.
"I was a feeling good and got my rhythm," said Anderson, a 5-foot-11 senior. "Every game right now, you lose and you're done and it could be my last career game."
After the hot start, Bagley had one more chance to make it a game. The Flyers' Michael Troxell's 3-pointer cut the Wave lead to 47-42 four minutes into the second half.
"We gave up too many threes in the first half but I was OK with it because of our pace," Perkerwicz said. "At some point, we knew they'd get tired. We knew we would have fresh bodies in the second half. (Bagley) started missing those threes in the second half and the pace we were playing with started to pay dividends."
Senior High's depth—the Wave played 11 players consistently—and defense eventually overwhelmed Bagley.
"I think we got up so big we got complacent," Anderson said. "We didn't keep the foot on the gas. We came into halftime and got refocused."
Anderson was aided by 13 points each from teammates Sam Votava and Julian Benson.
Bagley, which trailed by six at halftime, was led by James Hvezda's 17 points.
Senior High now advances to face No. 1 and undefeated Perham on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Concordia.