Belle Plaine senior Nathan Herman scored a team-high 25 points at NYA Monday night, a number of those coming at crucial moments late in the game.
Belle Plaine senior Nathan Herman scored a team-high 25 points at NYA Monday night, a number of those coming at crucial moments late in the game.
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by Dan Ruud
The Belle Plaine High School boys’ basketball team did not end the regular season well with a 59-54 loss at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton last Tuesday night at JWP. But the Tigers made that loss a distant memory with a thrilling 70-69 overtime victory in this past Monday night’s Section 2AA, North Subsection quarterfinal game against No. 4 seed Norwood Young America in NYA.
Belle Plaine (14-13), the fifth seed, will play No. 1 seed Jordan (23-3), which like NYA, won both regular season meetings against the Tigers. Belle Plaine hopes that the third time will be a charm again in this Thursday’s 6 p.m. subsection semifinal at New Prague High School.
Jordan whipped No. 8 seed Le Sueur-Henderson 71-46 in a subsection quarterfinal Monday night in Jordan. The Belle Plaine/Jordan winner will take on either No. 3 seed Glencoe-Silver Lake (15-11) or No. 7 Tri-City United (9-15) in the subsection championship at Minnesota State University, Mankato 7:45 p.m. next Monday.
TCU, the No. 7 seed, surprised No. 2 Sibley East 78-75 in another overtime game Monday night. Glencoe-Silver Lake toppled No. 6 seed St. Peter 71-64.
The South Subsection semifinals this Thursday (to be played at Mankato East High School) involves all the top four seeds as there were no surprises Monday night. It will be No. 1 seed Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (22-3) taking on No. 4 Fairmont (16-8) and No. 2 NRHEG (25-2) against No. 3 Maple River (18-7).
The North and South subsection champions will play for the section championship 8 p.m. March 17 at MSU, Mankato.
JWP 59, Tigers 54
The Tigers led 32-24 at halftime but that lead slipped away in the second half of a game that was still up for grabs in the closing moments last Tuesday night at JWP, where the home team finished on top by five points. The loss dropped Belle Plaine to a final regular season record of 13-13.
“This game went back and forth, we just didn’t finish well,” said Tigers coach Paul Fogarty.
Andrew Hunsader made five three-pointers for Belle Plaine on his way to a team-high 18 points. Brody Curtiss added 10 points to go along with six steals. Nathan Herman had eight points, while Noah Hastings had six points and six assists. Rounding out the scoring for Belle Plaine were Patrick Bigaouette (4), Jack Otto (3), Tommy Dikmen (3) and Matt Nelson (2).
Tigers 70, NYA 69
The Tigers, who led the Raiders 37-21 at halftime, looked like they were on their way to another second-half collapse as the host Raiders led 60-53 with three minutes left in regulation.
But Belle Plaine quickly rallied and took a 63-62 lead with just a few ticks left on the clock. That was just enough time for NYA senior and captain Kellen Erpenbach to draw a foul and step to the free throw line with less than a third of a second left. He missed the first shot but made the second to send the game into overtime.
The four-minute extra period was just as back and forth as 36 minutes of regulation was. Belle Plaine led by three points early in overtime only to have NYA come back to take a two-point lead at 69-67 in the closing seconds. There was enough time left on the clock for the Tigers to bring the ball up court and make a few passes, the last of which was caught by junior guard Hunsader, who launched a three-point shot that dropped through the webbing with just 1.4 seconds left. A desperation attempt by the Raiders failed and the Tigers survived to play another day.
“This was a hard-fought game,” Fogarty said. “I am so proud of how our team stuck together to get this win.”
Seniors Herman and Curtiss helped see to it that this wouldn’t be their final high school basketball game as they tossed in 25 and 19 points, respectively. Hastings also had 19 points and Hunsader had seven, including the game-winning three. Curtiss (6) and Herman (5) led the team in rebounds.
Carter Clemensen led NYA with 17 points, while Erpenbach and Logan Corlett both added 14.