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Strong first half lifts Plainville-Elgin Millville

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 03/23/12, 10:45PM CDT


Bulldogs to make first title game appearance after defeating Braham

Plainview-Elgin-Millville played a nearly flawless first half in Friday’s Class 2A semifinal against No. 3-seeded Braham. The big question was whether the Bulldogs had given themselves enough room to withstand an eventual Braham rally.

They did, staring down a barrage of second-half points from Braham’s Tyler Vaughan to oust the Bombers 84-67 . Plainview-Elgin-Millville will be making its first championship game appearance when it takes on Litchfield for the Class 2A title at 2 o.m. Saturday.

“That first half was about as good as we can play,” Plainview-Elgin-Millville coach Kirk Thompson said. “In the second half, we knew Vaughan was going to come out firing, but we did some good things ourselves.”

The Bulldogs (26-6) started fast, shocking the Bombers (30-2) by hitting their first four field goal attempts, all from beyond the three-point line, and using that momentum to take a 40-24 halftime lead.

In the second half, Vaughan, one of the state’s premier scorers, tried to lead his team back. He scored 23 of his 35 points after halftime but had to fight through frequent triple-teams to do it.

“It seems strange to say this, but I thought we made it tough on him,” Thompson said. “He had to work for his 35.”

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, relied on their long, athletic inside players – Sam Ruth, Beau Nelson and Chase Montgomery, all of whom are 6-foot-3 or taller – to counter with easy baskets inside. That trio scored 35 of the Bulldogs’ 44 points after halftime and Braham never got closer than 12 points.

Guard Cory Speer led Plainview-Elgin-Millville with 22 points, 17 in the first half. Ruth added 21 and Nelson finished with 16.


Three Stars

1. Cory Speer, Plainview-Elgin-Millville

The Bulldogs guard started out hot, scoring 17 in the first half as P.E.M. ran out to a 16 points halftime lead. Speer scored 22 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. His first half outburst included shooting 4-5 from 3-point land.

2. Sam RuthPlainview-Elgin-Millville

Ruth was equally as effective for the Bulldogs, scoring 21 points on an incredily efficient 10-13 shooting. The senior big man dominated the paint, collecting 8 rebounds and contesting numerous shots on the defensive end. The Bombers didn't have an answer for him inside and Ruth took full advantage of that throughout the game.

3. Tyler Vaughan, Braham

Vaughan was a one-man wrecking crew for the second straight tournament game, dominating the offensive end scoring 35 points on 13-27 shooting.  He added 10 rebounds to complete a double-double and contributed 3 steals and a block on the defensive end. 

-Alec Kinsky, MN Basketball Hub Staff

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