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Second Season To Begin For Hopeful Cagers

03/05/2018, 11:45am CST
By Tom Schardin

The Prior Lake boys basketball team went 21-5 in the regular season, but records are thrown out in the playoffs.

All season, the Lakers have been on a mission to get to state and now they will have to get through a tough Section 2AAAA field to earn the program's first berth since 1978.

Prior Lake ended the regular season with a 65-60 South Suburban Conference win at Lakeville South March 2 behind a career-high 28 points from junior Robert Jones, while sophomore Dawson Garcia scored 26.

The Lakers finished third in the SSC with a 14-4 mark behind No. 3-ranked Apple Valley (17-1) and No. 4 Lakeville North (16-2).

Prior Lake earned the No. 2 seed in Section 2AAAA and will open quarterfinal play March 7 at home versus seventh-seeded Bloomington Jefferson (15-10) at 7 p.m. The Lakers beat the Jaguars 58-49 back on Jan. 6.

Eden Prairie (19-7) earned the No. 1 seed and will take on eighth-seeded Chanhassen (12-14) in the quarterfinals, while third-seeded Edina (17-9) gets sixth-seeded Shakopee (14-12) and fourth-seeded Chaska (19-7) will take on fifth-seeded Minnetonka (14-11).

The semifinals are March 10 at the site of the highest seed. The title game is March 16 at the site of the higher seed.

The 21 wins for the Lakers are the most in season since the team became a Class 4A program at the start of the 2003-04 campaign.

Prior Lake was 20-6 after 2005-06 regular season, but lost in the section quarterfinals to Jefferson. Prior Lake won 19 games in the 2012-13 regular season, but also lost in the first round of the playoffs that year to Lakeville South.

Prior Lake won back-to-back Class AA state championships in 1977 and 1978 and was also a state participant in 1976.

As a Class 4A team, Prior Lake has not made it past in the section semifinals. The team has lost in the semifinals four of the last six years.

Meanwhile, in beating Lakeville South, the Lakers outscored the Cougars 40-32 in the second half. Senior Patrick Bernick chipped in six points for Prior Lake.

Garcia led the Lakers in the regular season at 21.7 points per game, while Jones averaged 13.5 and junior Sam Nissen averaged 11.2.

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