Cardinals head to sectional championship Thursday

Above The Fold Media | For the Leader
Levi Jensen (photo at left) took his turn cutting down the net after the Luck Cardinals defeated Birchwood to earn a sectional matchup with Northwood this Thursday, March 12. At right, Gage Johansen waits for an opening. - Photos by Seth Mack
Face Northwood at Hayward in a 7 p.m. game

LUCK – The competition technically was closing in on the Luck boys basketball team by week’s end.
After the Cardinals defeated Lac Courte Oreilles by 79 points in the postseason opener, their next two opponents both came within 50 points, though they posed little resistance in Luck’s path to a regional title.
The Cardinals also thrashed their regional semifinal and final opponents, Washburn and Birchwood, to advance to sectional competition this week. Following their 106-27 win on Tuesday, March 3, they defeated Washburn 80-48 and Birchwood 94-48 to earn a sectional matchup with Northwood this Thursday, March 12.
Luck scored 65 points in the first half of their playoff-opener win over the Eagles, who got 22 of their 27 points from Tyson Rademacher. But, Ben Smith scored 22 for the Cardinals to lead their six players who reached double-digit point totals.
The Cardinals scored the first 10 points of the game and later in the half went on a 28-0 run to take control of the game. They entered halftime with a 49-point lead, then scored the first 11 points of the second half.
Gage Johansen had 19 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists for Luck; Levi Jensen had 18 points; Chris Murphy had 17 points and seven rebounds; Brayden Eder had 11 points; and Riley Runnels had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Washburn represented more of a challenge to the Cardinals in Friday’s regional semifinal, but still were essentially defeated before halftime. Jensen scored a game-high 21 points and added nine rebounds to lead five Luck scorers in double digits.
The Cardinals started the game with three consecutive 3-pointers and were approaching a 20-point lead near the midway point of the first half. They ended the half with a 14-3 run to take a 58-24 lead into the break.
Smith finished with 15 points for Luck; Johansen had 13 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds; Carsen Eley had 13 points and eight assists; while Runnels had 12 points.
Jensen nearly led the Cardinals to another 100-point total in Saturday’s regional final, scoring a game-high 30 points in the lopsided win over Birchwood.
Luck scored the first nine points of the game and held a 20-point lead before the Bobcats had their second basket of the game. Eley sank a 3-pointer late in the first half to give the Cardinals a 40-point lead entering the break.
Johansen finished with 24 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists for the Cardinals; Runnels had 13 points and Wyatt Jensen had 11 points with six rebounds. Matthew Marcinske led Birchwood with 27 points, though the rest of the roster accounted for just 21 points.
The Cardinals enter the sectional with a nine-game win streak and a 20-5 overall record. Northwood is 16-8 on the season and won its regional final 68-66 over Mellen. Thursday’s game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at Hayward.

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