By BRYAN GIBBONS
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
LOUISIANA, Mo. -- After a sluggish start Saturday night, the Canton boys basketball team found success in the same place it has all season -- on the interior.
The result was a 63-48 victory over South Shelby in the Class 2 District 5 championship at Louisiana High School.
The Tigers (27-1) will face Cairo Northeast (23-3) in a Class 2 sectional at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Highland High School. Canton beat Cairo 66-60 earlier this season.
With less than three minutes to play in the first quarter, the game was tied at eight, and all of the Tigers' points were from the free-throw line.
They were 9 of 10 from the charity stripe in the quarter and finished 22 of 27 for the game.
Canton didn't score its first field goal until Brandon Berhorst hit a 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 23 seconds left in the first quarter.
That's when the Tigers went inside.
"Thankfully, we were finally able to get our offense rolling," Canton coach Andy Anderson said. "We broke down their zone defense and got ourselves easy points."
Canton dominated the second quarter, building a 35-25 halftime lead, sparked by eight points from Berhorst. Tyler Niemann sparked the second-quarter surge with hustle on defense and sharp passes on offense.
"We did a good job of attacking, and were able to get big Andre McClure in foul trouble early," said Niemann, who finished with 16 points. "Once we got him off the floor, we were able to get inside for easy baskets just like we have all year."
Berhorst finished with 16 points for the Tigers. Wyatt Proper led South Shelby (21-6) with 25 points.