Loyola 25-29 = 54 MLA 30-33 = 63 Mt. Lake Area established a first-half lead and was able to extend that lead in the second half Friday night, claiming a 63-54 win over Mankato Loyola at Lake Crystal in the Section 2A South playoffs.
With the win, the Wolverines advanced to the sub-section championship game, where they will face United South Central Tuesday at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter at 8 p.m.
In Friday's game, MLA started fast, building an early 12-2 lead. Loyola regrouped, closing to within 12-11. But the Wolverines were able to maintain the lead the rest of the half, taking a five-point lead into halftime.
In the second half, MLA continued its tight defense against Loyola's outside threats. The Wolverines forced the Crusaders to shoot just 32 percent from the field in the game. That allowed MLA to overcome 22 turnovers.
The Wolverines also held a dominant 53-25 edge on the glass.
Carter Kirk led the Wolverines with 19 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots. Cody Klassen scored 16 points. Zach Dickens added 11 and Andrew Hempeck scored 10 points and dished out six assists in the win.
Next games: Check for updates after each game. MLA: vs. USC (at Gustavus, St. Peter), March 4