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Apple Valley's Tyus Jones went up for two under pressure from Brainerd's Jagar Hanson in the second half of the Class 4A quarterfinal Wednesday at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Apple Valley defeated Brainerd 81-67. Photo: ELIZABETH FLORES * eflores@st
Tyus Jones wasn’t comfortable in the shoes he was wearing at the start of Wednesday morning's game.
After all, Apple Valley trailed Brainerd by two points at halftime and he had just four points. A fresh pair in the second half made all the difference, or at least provided Jones and the Eagles the mental edge needed for an 81-67 victory at the Target Center.
Jones scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, had seven assists and six steals.
“I was just taking what the defense gave me [in the first half]. In the second I was able to get to the lane and score a little bit more,” Jones said. “We just knew we had to regroup and calm down. They had gone on their run.”
Brainerd tied the game midway through the second half. It couldn’t prepare for what the Eagles’ star would do late in the game, though.
Warriors coach Scott Stanfield said his players did everything they were capable of. The Sauer brothers, Tony and Jack, combined for 17 points, Marcus Comstock had 17, and Chris Bowman 12.
Bowman tied the game 56-56 with 9:06 to play, but Brainerd didn’t score again until 4:23 while Apple Valley closed the game on a 25-8 run.
Dennis Austin also scored 19 with six rebounds for the Eagles, while three others (Dustin Fronk 15, Brock Bertram 13, Robert Tobroxen 11) scored double figures.
“We knew what they were prepared to do, we just started out slow. They came out and punched us in the mouths,” Austin said. “We did the little things in the second half and played smarter.”
1. Dennis Austin (Apple Valley) - Austin erupted in the second half scoring 11 of the Eagles first 13 points in what really got the rest of the team going. The 6'3 Junior scored most of his points (19) battling inside the paint and hitting 3 of 5 free throws. He pulled down 6 rebounds and played solid defense on the Warrior guards.
2. Tyus Jones (Apple Valley) - Jones looked every part of a top 5 recuit in the nation. His court vision is something you just cant teach. Jones constantly finds his Eagle teammates in places you don't think a pass can get through. Like Austin, Jones was excellent in the second half scoring 15 of his 19 total points. He also had 7 dimes, 6 steals, and 2 boards.
3. Marcus Comstock (Brainerd) - It was fun to watch Comstock work against one of the best defenses in the state. He found ways to get open, knock down shots, and even go to the rim and score on the Eagles 6'10 Brock Bertram. The senior ended his career with the Warriors shooting 7-13 from the field, 3-3 from the line for a total of 17 points.
-Pete Heldstab, MN Basketball Hub