The Minden Whippets boys basketball team took their first step towards a repeat performance in the Class C-1 boys finals following Thursday’s first round state victory over the Hershey Panthers.
Minden entered state as the second-seed and took on the seventh-seeded Panthers at Pershing Center. The Whippets couldn’t shake Hershey and, despite atypical performance from the foul line, 20 of 31, but Minden was able to advance to the semifinals with an eight point victory, 52-44.
Minden (23-1) took on the third-seeded Wahoo Warriors in the C-1 semifinals on Friday morning at the Bob Devaney Sports Center for the right to play in the C-1 boys championship game on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Derek Kissinger and Carson Blum led the Dawgs in scoring with a team-best 14 points while starter Christian Schwenka added eight. RJ Watson and Isaac Carlson came off the bench to tally eight and six respectively.
Minden got off to a hot start to open the contest as the senior Kissinger dropped in a pair of threes to give Minden a 6-0 lead. The Panthers erased the lead go on their own 11-0 run to hold their biggest lead of the contest, 11-6. Blum got Minden right back into the game with four straight points starting with a free throw and an old-fashioned three-point play to cut the deficit to 11-10 with 1:56 to play. The Whippets scored the final five points of the quarter, led by Watson’s three and then a Blum running bank shot to go into the second with a four point lead, 15-11.
Minden opened the second with four straight points on a Kissinger layup and a Blum floater to widen the Dawgs lead to eight, 19-11, at the 5:07 mark of the period.
Watson’s three-point play vaulted Minden into its largest lead of the contest, ten points, 23-13 with 3:32 to play. Hershey began to make a move on the Whippets outscoring Minden 8-0 including a pair of threes to cut the deficit back to two, 23-21.
Kissinger would send Minden into intermission with a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to keep Minden ahead by five, 26-21.
Schwenka started the second half with a layup to get the lead back to seven, 28-21, only to have the Panthers convert a three-point play to get the margin back to four, 28-24. Minden would go an 8-0 run over the next two minutes led by baskets from Isaac Carlson and Schwenka to go ahead 36-24. The Panthers refused to go away scoring the final seven points of the third to go into the fourth with the Whippets holding a 36-31 lead.
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