Averaging more than 75 points per game, held to 24 first-half points normally would be a bad sign for Southwest Christian. That is unless you keep your opponent to just 16 points over the first 18 minutes.
The Stars' defensive effort was the difference in a 57-50 win at Watertown-Mayer in the first round of Section 5AA play on March 18.
Made shots came at a premium for both teams, Southwest Christian converting just one 3-pointer on a make from Nick Burke that extended a second-half lead to 49-40.
Burke and Brayden Zimmerman each had double-doubles for the Stars. Burke finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Zimmerman added a team-high 14 points and 13 rebounds.
A 24-16 deficit at halftime, Watertown-Mayer, which beat Southwest Christian 74-65 in the regular season, took a 31-29 lead on a Mitchell Burns 3-pointer.
Three free throws from Asa Smith keyed a 9-1 run for the Stars at 38-32. Smith finished with 11 points with Tyson Sandness also in double figures with 14 points and seven rebounds.
John Mueller was one of three Royals in double figures with a game-high 20 points.
Southwest Christian (12-6) draws top seed Minneapolis North in the Section 5AA quarterfinals at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 20. The Polars are 11-1 overall with wins over Hopkins and DeLaSalle, and a lone loss to Minnehaha Academy.
HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC 65, BRECK SCHOOL 59
Meeting Breck School for the second time in a week, the Section 5AA opening round match-up played out much differently than the regular season finale for Holy Family Catholic.
The Fire, trailing 34-26 at halftime March 18, outscored the Mustangs 39-25 in the second half in a 65-59 win.
Holy Family Catholic (8-10) will play at No. 2 seed Blake School at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, in the quarterfinals.
In the first meeting, the Fire led 37-22 at halftime over Breck School, claiming a 22-point victory on March 12.
This time around it was Breck that jumped ahead early, with Holy Family Catholic needed a rally over the final 18 minutes.
Gavin Lund, on the scoresheet for the first time since Feb. 25, netted a team-high 16 points for the Fire. Fellow senior Jake Kirsch added 14 points with Boden Kapke finishing with 10.
Seven Holy Family Catholic scorers had multiple baskets with Braylon Cummings (eight points), Greg Stoffel (six), Noah Seck (six), and Jacob Warmka (five) adding to the scoresheet.
Jaren Morton was one of four Mustangs in double figures with 15 points.
Blake School, the No. 2 seed, is 15-2 overall, with losses to No. 1 Minnehaha Academy and Class 4A Edina.