NRHEG boys basketball beat Maple River for the third time this season, knowing a fourth meeting could come during the section tournament.

The Panthers left little doubt on Monday, jumping out to a 10-0 lead on their way to a 72-43 victory. Maple River had a cold night shooting and never threatened. Besides the other regular season meeting, an 80-60 Panthers win, the teams met during the Bethany holiday tournament. NRHEG prevailed 55-50 in the finals of that event.

The Panthers and Eagles are in the same subsection for the upcoming playoffs and could meet again in a couple of weeks. The Eagles have held the upper hand on the Panthers in playoff meetings in basketball and football in recent years.

NRHEG's Benji Lundberg scored 15 of his 21 in the first half. One of his most exciting plays came midway through the second half. Lundberg was on a 2-on-1 fast break with Brady Agrimson. Lundberg tossed an over-the-head pass to Agrimson, who put it up and in to give the Panthers a 51-33 lead.

Every senior scored on Senior Night at the New Richland gym. Tyler Raimann had 13 points. Oakley Baker scored 11. Chad Agrimson added 7. Jack Schultz and Jason Jongbloedt tossed in four apiece. Sam Prigge had two. And Carter Fischer banked in a three-pointer in the closing minutes. NRHEG (22-2 overall, 10-1 Gopher) is tied with WEM atop the league. The Panthers go to Blue Earth Area on Tuesday.

The night started with a glitch in the playing of the national anthem. The large crowd picked up where the recording stopped.

Elsewhere, Blooming Prairie's boys dropped a 71-60 decision to Faribault Bethlehem Academy on Monday in a makeup game. The game was "tightly contest most of the way," according to BP coach Nate Piller. He said the game came down to rebounding and three-point shooting.

"We were out-rebounded and that's probably the difference in the game." He added, "they made some big time three-point shots in the second half after we had tied the game at 45."

Blooming Prairie (10-14, 4-7) hosts WEM on Friday, weather permitting.

Monday, February 20, scoreboard
Boys basketball
NRHEG 72, Maple River 43
Bethlehem Academy 71, Blooming Prairie 60
Randolph 59, Medford 40

Girls basketball
Kasson-Mantorville 64, Hayfield 43 (HVL championship)
Mankato Loyola 73, Bethlehem Academy 48

Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media