Originally published: February 28, 2015
MARSHALL – A season ago, Canby avenged a midseason loss to Central Minnesota Christian by defeating the Bluejays in the Section 3A Tournament.
This season, the Lancers once again lost to CMCS in regular season action. However, this time they were not able to even the score in section play, as No. 1 CMCS defeated No. 2 Canby 60-48 to clinch the Section 3A North Championship.
The win moves CMCS (22-3) one win away from a berth in the Class A State Tournament. Standing in its way is Southwest Minnesota Christian, who defeated Murray County Central 47-45 in the Section 3A South final.
Canby ended its season with a 23-4 record.
The Bluejays closed the game on a 17-9 run to seal the win. Leading CMCS was Austin Bulthuis, who scored 19 points in the win.
The Bluejays showcased their lockdown defense throughout the game, not allowing Canby to utilize its size advantage in the post.
“That was a big problem. They were pushing us out so much and we couldn’t get underneath,” Canby coach Jon Hanson said. “They’re pressure was relentless. It was hard to get a shot off against those guys.”
That pressure was evident beginning late in the first half and extending after the break.
After Canby’s Zach Nuy picked up his second foul with 3:53 remaining in the half, CMCS went on an 8-2 run to close the half.
The run gave the Bluejays a 27-23 lead, only its second lead of the game to that point
The Bluejays would not surrender the lead again as the defensive intensity continued for CMCS in the second half, and.
Nick Prokop and Nathan Cooper scored the half’s opening two baskets for the Lancers to tie the game at 27, but CMCS responded with seven unanswered points.
Leading the Lancers was Kristian Leppke, who finished with 19 points. He also recorded three rebounds and three steals in the loss.
Zach Nuy added 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Canby.
The loss was the final game for Leppke and Nuy, as well as seven other seniors on Canby’s roster.
“They’ve had a great career. They’ve got nothing to hang their heads about,” Hanson said. “What they’ve done the past three years is pretty incredible and probably won’t be matched again.”
It was also the last game in the eight-year coaching career of Canby coach Jon Hanson.
Hanson and the seniors amassed a 48-9 record over the past two seasons, including the program’s first state tournament berth since 1951.