After nail-biting victories in its previous two post season games, the Sibley East boys’ basketball team made it look easy Friday.
The Wolverines delivered the knockout punch early and galloped to a 76-57 win over Foley in the Section 5AA finals at St. Cloud State University.
Points came from all angles for Sibley East as they cranked out a standout performance that many Wolverine fans have become accustom too in recent years.
“The boys came out and played hard, but were able to shoot relaxed and in rhythm,” Sibley East head coach Todd Warzecha said. “When [Foley] collapsed defensively, we were able to hit shots on the perimeter. When [Foley] didn’t collapse, it opened things up for Marshall Bjorklund.”
The trio of Bjorklund, Ian Berg and Justin Rettmann fueled Sibley East’s offense. Bjorklund powered the Wolverines’ post game and added to the excitement with three thunderous dunks. Rettmann and Berg meanwhile were on target from the perimeter. The guard tandem was a combined 7 of 10 from three point range.
Rettmann’s three-pointer put the Wolverines on top 5-3 and the rout was on.
Rettmann drilled another three, Berg followed, and Tony Haefs scored a layup as Sibley East quickly stretched its lead to 15-5.
The lead would remain at about ten points until the final 7:00 of the first half.
Berg tossed in two more three-pointers from the wing to push Sibley East’s lead to 33-19. Another three by Jesse Schwirtz and inside hoops by Bjorklund would eventually give the Wolverines a commanding 43-22 advantage. Sibley East led 47-22 at halftime.
More baskets by Bjorklund and another three-pointer by Rettmann would give the Wolverines their biggest lead of the night (59-28) five minutes into the second half.
From that point on Sibley East put its offense in cruise control. A late three-pointer by Foley made it a 76-57 final and that proved to be as close as the Falcons would get in the second half.
“It was great to see our guys play with such confidence,” Warzecha said. “Seeing this team, especially the seniors, make it to State means a lot. I have never had a team that stuck together and believed in each other like this team does.”
Sibley East shot a blistering 56% (26-46) from two-point range and 42% (8-19) from beyond the three-point arc. It was also a much improved effort from the free throw line for the Wolverines. They made 16 of 22 (73%) from the charity stripe. Berg, Rettmann and Schwirtz were a combined 10 for 10 from the foul line.
A pesky Sibley East defense meanwhile appeared to fluster Foley. The Falcons shot 35% from two-point range and 19% (5-26) from beyond the three-point arc.
Sibley East held a 42-27 advantage in rebounding. The Wolverines were charged with 19 turnovers, nine more than Foley.
It was another standout performance for Bjorklund. The 6’-8” senior center had 30 points and 17 rebounds.
Rettmann and Berg finished the night with 20 and 17 points respectively. Lucas Herd added a team high seven assists and four rebounds for the winners.
This was the first Section championship for Sibley East’s boys’ cage team since 1998. The Wolverines were section runnerup to Litchfield in 2003.