MINNEAPOLIS - The defending champion Perham Yellowjackets resorted to a deliberate keep-away style late in the game, but one turnover and a failed jumper underneath doomed the strategy as Perham fell to Litchfield 33-31 Friday night in the Class AA semifinals.
After Perham missed the shot Litchfield took final possession and employed the same strategy until calling a timeout with 14.6 seconds left. Zach Kinny took the inbounds pass and dribbled into the lane for an uncontested jump shot that dropped just before the buzzer.
The Dragons now have another opportunity to take home some more championship hardware. Litchfield has won titles in 2000, 2002 and 2003.
Kinny had a game-high 10 boards, plus scored a game-high eight points, as did junior guard Dylan Koll. Perham's leading scorer, senior Jordan Bruhn, also had eight points.
In Friday's other Class AA semifinal, Plainview-Elgin-Millville battered Braham 84-67.
Litchfield will face Plainview-E-M today for the state championship.
The top seed in the tournament, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, continued its perfect record with a 56-36 victory over Mountain Lake-Butterfield-Odin Friday in the MSHSL Class A semifinals at Target Center.
Both squads opened the game battling back and forth at a high tempo style. Mountain Lake-B-O went 5-for-5 in the first half from behind the 3-point line, and hit an astounding 52.2% from the field helping keep it in the game.
At the end of the first half B-B-E had the slight edge 36-31.
B-B-E proved to be too much for Mountain Lake-B-O, however. Within four minutes of the second half B-B-E opened a 41-32 lead and was on its way.
Conner Goodwin continued to be a dominating factor inside with 18 points and 13 rebounds while Brian Goodwin added 17 points. Billy Borgerding and Kirby Montbriad both chipped in 14 points for B-B-E.
Beau Herrig led Mountain Lake-B-O with 16 points and nine rebounds.
In Friday's other Class A semifinal Southwest Minnesota Christian ousted Rushford-Peterson 46-44.
Dominic Nibbelink helped lead Southwest to victory with nine points and Zach Huisken added 13 rebounds.
Rushford-Peterson's Nick Thompson led all scorers with 22 points. He also had 10 rebounds while Trent Vix chipped in 18.