LE SUEUR - The Minnesota Valley Lutheran Chargers boys basketball team almost pulled a Bulldog out of a hat.
But by the end of the Section 2A North Subsection game on Friday night, it was Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity who made MVL disappear as the second seeded Bulldogs beat the sixth seed Chargers 86-71.
MVL ends its season with a 13-14 record while LP/HT advances to play Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City on Tuesday night at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.
It was the last seven minutes of the game that broke the Chargers back, as they held a 60-59 lead with eight minutes left. Before that, MVL looked like it might pull of the upset of the sub-section.
The Chargers opened the game with a 13-4 lead by outhustling and outrebounding the Bulldogs, with nine of those points coming from offensive boards. LP/HT crept back into the game, though, eventually evening the score at 18-18.
After that, there were four lead changes, with the Bulldogs grabbing a 29-24 lead before MVL battled back and re-took the lead 36-35 with consecutive hoops from Nick Dewanz. The lead changed hands five more times before Seth Kroells capped off the first half scoring with a three-point play that put the Chargers up 43-41 at halftime.
The two teams went toe to toe early in the second half, with LP/HT taking a 55-51 lead before MVL scored five in a row to hold a narrow 56-55 margin.
Like two boxers going into the final round, the scoreboard wouldn't show a gap of more than a point four more times. Finally, the Bulldogs Nick Machemehl took charge and scored five of the next seven points to put LP/HT up 66-60 with 6:50 left.
While MVL scored the next four, Spencer Radke led the Bulldogs on a eight-point charge that made it 74-64 with 3:30 remaining. Machemehl would then get three easy layups to cap off a 33-point scoring effort to give LP/HT the victory.
Chad Lease led the Chargers with 17 points, with Jacob Hoffman adding 16 and Dewanz finishing with 12.