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De Smet starts strong in Missouri Class 5 boys basketball semifinal win over Winnetonka

Dillon Duff leads the Spartans with 18 points

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI – The De Smet boys basketball team wanted to get off to a good start on Wednesday, but probably couldn't have imagined it would go so well. 

The Spartans scored the first 17 points of their Missouri Class 5 semifinal game against Winnetonka, with junior forward Dillon Duff scoring 12 of them, and cruised from there for a dominant 65-41 victory at Mizzou Arena. 

"We always preach coming out and getting off to a good start," De Smet coach Kent Williams said. "To get off to a – I don't know what it was, 15- or 16-0 lead (17-0) to start the game – in a game like this you don't think that's going to happen. But we just came out with the right mentality on the defensive end and some of our defense led to some easy baskets on the offensive end."

Duff, who recently committed to play quarterback at Kansas State, finished with a team-high 18 points, six rebounds and four steals. 

"I think it all came from the defensive side of the ball," Duff said. "We knew we wanted to control the pace of the game and we could do that on our defensive side as well as our offensive side. That was our goal going into this game, just coming out and attacking and playing our game."

The Spartans (26-5), who also got 13 points and six rebounds from sophomore forward Jordan Boyd, will play Jefferson City (12-19) in the Class 5 championship game at 6 p.m. Thursday. 

De Smet is seeking its sixth state title and first since 1999.

Winnetonka (25-6), which got 23 points from senior guard Dekyreone Coleman and 12 points from junior guard Jaylen Craig, will meet Vianney (24-7) in the third-place game at noon Thursday.

"Tough one tonight," Winnetonka coach Kirk Stegeman said. "De Smet came out and they were firing on all cylinders. They played really, really well defensively. We really couldn't get things going early offensively. Couple turnovers in a row and they got some easy buckets. We had a couple good looks and they just weren't able to fall. Got things rolling a little bit in the second quarter and they are a big, physical team. They continued to pound us inside a little bit. Our kids fought, just came up a little short tonight."

De Smet junior forward Dillon Duff

De Smet junior forward Dillon Duff

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- Nate Latsch | | @SBLiveMiz