The Mankato West boys basketball team was struggling offensively and couldn’t seem to shake off New Prague in their state-tournament quarterfinal game Wednesday morning.

With the top-seeded Scarlets holding a slim, one-point lead, guard Ray Teachout did something that, perhaps, even surprised himself.

He put the ball on the floor, went hard to the hoop around a defender and scored on the left-handed layup.

“That was a once-in-a-lifetime for me,” Teachout said after West’s 49-37 victory at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena.

The basket was part of a 13-2 run that put the Scarlets ahead 40-30 with less than two minutes remaining in the second half.

“(Teachout) saw an opening, and he’s so explosive and so athletic,” West coach Tom Boone said. “Maybe he needs to do more of that.”

Teachout is West’s best outside shooter, but he’ll get at least two more chances to show off his slashing skills, as the Scarlets, who are making their first trip to state since winning it all in 2004, advanced to the Class AAA semifinals.

Teachout scored six of his 14 points in that second-half stretch. Derrick Cattrysse led the Scarlets with 15 points, including his own slashing layup in the run and a 6-for-6 performance from the free-throw line in the game’s final 94 seconds.

New Prague led 23-20 at the intermission after closing out the final six minutes of the first half with a 12-2 run.

Prior to that, West built an 18-11 lead, getting points in the paint from Aaron Richter, Andrew Sathoff and Cattrysse and holding the Trojans without a field goal for more than eight minutes.

However, the Scarlets committed 11 turnovers in the half, and New Prague stayed in the game with five free throws by Danny Geiger, who had 11 of his game-high 18 points in the half. The Trojans were 10 for 12 from the free-throw line in the half, while the Scarlets were 2 for 3.

“We were struggling offensively,” Teachout said. “(The Trojans) are a great defensive team. Mainly, we just needed to slow down. We sped things up in the first half and were a little out of control.”

When the second half began, Teachout quickly tied the game with a 3-pointer. A layup by Aaron Richter and two free throws by Preston Brunz gave the Scarlets a 27-23 lead.

New Prague just wouldn’t go away, though and it grabbed a 28-25 lead on an inside basket by Geiger and a 3-pointer by Sam Dittberner with 11:23 to play.

After an Aaron Richter free throw tied the game and started West’s big run, the Trojans scored just one more field goal while the game still in reach.

“We played extremely well defensively in the second half,” Boone said.

New Prague had explosive scorers in Connor O’Brien and Dittberner, who came into the game averaging nearly 22 and 16 points, respectively. O’Brien finished with six, and Dittberner had 10.

“In the locker room (at halftime) we knew it wasn’t our best half we’ve ever played,” said Cattrysse, who also dished out five assists. “Defensively, we were all right, but offensively, we needed to pick things up.”

West outscored New Prague 24-10 in the paint and had a 36-20 rebound advantage. Aaron Richter pulled down 11 rebounds, and Mike Richter had 10.

West (28-1) will play Spring Lake Park — an 83-65 winner over Rogers — at noon today at Target Center.

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