The Pine Island Panthers went into Saturday's Section 1AA semifinal believing they could knock off the kings of the area the past few seasons. The only problem is they ran into not one but two Kings: brothers 6-foot-3 junior Owen King and 6-foot-1 freshman Noah King.

They combined for 42 of Caledonia's 70 points in a 70-57 declawing of the Panthers. Owen had 26 points and Noah 16.

Pine Island hung with Caledonia for most of the first half before the Warriors took a 36-26 lead. Then they started the second half in a spread offense that forced Pine Island out of their zone and Caledonia had them right where they wanted them.
Five-foot-6 guard Joe Bauer was given the duty of guarding the eldest King and the officials wouldn't let him try to get close enough to make him uncomfortable.

When the Warriors spread the floor and took time off the clock in the second half, Pine Island had 6-foot-9 Mark Mboya-Kotiano covering 5-foot-11 junior Andrew Goergen at the top.

Either Goergen would drive by and dish or simply pass off and the blue paint in the Rochester Mayo Civic Auditorium would be wide open for whomever to cut to the basket for layup after layup. It was super efficient.

Meanwhile Pine Island was not able to use their size the way they had hoped on offense either.

Katiano was held to six points in the game and just one basket the entire second half.

Mr. Double-double Brock Finstuen dominated early and had 14 first-half points but was limited to nine points in the second half and Caledonia was able to, for the most part, control him on the glass. That's why the Warriors are the second ranked Class AA team in the state.

Before the game I thought if Pine Island could make it a half-court game they had a shot at upsetting Caledonia. It was mostly a half-court game and the Warriors showed they can play any style.

Remember, most of these guys were stellar football players, too, and being physical is something they enjoy. Two Warriors fouled out of the very physical game.

Finstuen finished his terrific career at Pine Island with 23 points and 5-foot-11 senior Camden Heepke added 13.

The Panthers were 15 of 20 from the free throw line while Caledonia made 8 of 11 free throws.

No. 4 seed Pine Island finished their season 23-5.

Caledonia will play Lake City for the section title Thursday at 6PM in Rochester.

The Tigers dominated the St. Charles Saints, sending them marching home with a 50-38 win Saturday.

Pine Island receives their medals- photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Pine Island receives their medals- photo by Gordy Kosfeld

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