Hornets beaten at the buzzer, 53-50
Mon, 03/10/2014 - 9:57am admin
The Big Lake boys basketball team finished its season with a 53-50 loss to Delano in the semifinal round of the Section 5AAA playoffs last Saturday at St. Cloud State.
It was a game the Hornets could have won if their shots would have fallen early in the game.
With both teams playing a zone defense to start the game, scoring was difficult for both the Hornets and the Tigers.
It took three minutes for Delano to hit a layup for a 2-0 lead. By that time the Hornets had missed their first six shot attempts, including two layups that bounced off the rim.
Big Lake finally got on the board when Austin Poe sank one of two free throws with 13:15 left in the half. He scored again on a fast break, then Eric Chuba hit Big Lake’s first outside shot, a three-pointer, to tie the game at 6-6 with 10:14 in the half.
But it was defense and poor shooting that kept the game low-scoring for both teams.
The Tigers opened up a five point lead after a steal and two layups. The Hornets came back on drives inside by Chuba and Mike Doperalski. And after Poe sank two free throws, the Hornets went on top, 13-12 with 4:26 in the half.
But that’s when things went bad for Big Lake. Their shots were still off the mark, and the Tigers began to find their range. They scored on three straight layups in a one-minute span, then sank two three-pointers for a 12-0 run.
They led, 24-15 at the half. It was Big Lake’s lowest offensive output in the first half all season.
After Delano opened with a jump shot 25 seconds into the second half, the Hornets had a short scoring streak of their own. Doperalski drove for a score. Delano’s center Damon Longstreet picked up his fourth foul, sending Poe to the free-throw line. He sank one, then Sam Dokkebakken got his first two points on a short jumper to close the gap to five points at 26-21 with 16:18 left.
Five minutes later, Poe scored inside and hit a free-throw to bring Big Lake within two points at 30-28. And after a long dry spell for both teams, Dokkebakken hit a jump shot with 9:04 left to tie the game at 30-30.
But Delano went on another streak. They scored on two quick layups. Then Doperalski picked up his fourth foul, sending the Tigers to the free-throw line for two shots. On the play, Doperalski also drew a technical foul, his fifth. He had to leave the game.
The Tigers sank all four free throws, retained possession and scored on a layup for a 40-30 lead with 6:41 left.
The game looked almost out of reach for Big Lake, especially with their starting guard gone and their ineffective shooting to that point.
Chuba gave the Hornets some life with a three-pointer a minute later.
But the Tigers kept working the ball and scoring inside. With 3:20 left, their lead was 45-34.
Big Lake got a break when Delano’s Longstreet fouled out with 2:47 left. That gave the Hornets some advantage inside. Dokkebakken hit a free throw. Tyler Halverson hit a free throw. Then Jake Pribnow hit a three-pointer to close the gap to six points with 2:09 left.
The Hornets went into a full court press and it worked. Poe stole the inbounds pass and was fouled. He hit one of two to make the score 45-40. He stole the next inbounds pass, scored on a layup then sank a free throw to make it a 45-43 game with 1:27 left. On that play, Delano’s other big man, Matt Kreklow fouled out.
Delano sank two free throws on their next possession for a four-point margin. But Chuba connected for three with a minute left to close the gap to 47-46.
The Hornets committed a foul to get the ball back, and the Tigers hit both free throws for a 49-46 lead. Then after Big Lake missed a three-point attempt, the Tigers hit another free throw to lead, 50-46 with 31 seconds left.
Eight seconds later, Poe put in his own rebound and was fouled. He hit the foul shot and the score was 50-49 with 23 seconds left.
Poe stole another inbounds pass two seconds later and was fouled again. He hit one of two foul shots to tie the game at 50-50 with 21 seconds remaining.
Big Lake’s defense kept the Tigers from getting an open shot on the next possession. But the ball went out of bounds under Big Lake’s basket with 3.4 seconds left.
It was Delano’s ball.
After a time out, the Tigers inbounded the ball to one of their guards. He took a shot from three-point range.
It went in as the buzzer sounded, ending an amazing comeback and Big Lake’s season.
Poe finished with 20 points.
Chuba scored 12 and Dokkebakken had seven.