Late run lifts Sebeka past Nevis, back to Section 5A championship game
Advancing to the Section 5A West championship game proved costly for the Nevis boys basketball team.
Nevis, the No. 3 seed, upset No. 2-seeded Bertha-Hewitt 60-49 last Saturday night at Wadena to advance to the subsection title game.
However, Nolan Toft injured his knee in the second half of that game and had to sit out Tuesday night's game against top-seeded Sebeka.
Sebeka took advantage by returning to the Section 5A championship game with a 68-48 victory over the Tigers at Park Rapids' Century School gym.
Even though an early 12-0 run gave Sebeka the lead for good, the Tigers were within striking distance with 11 minutes to play before the Trojans ended the game with a 28-14 run.
Layups by Hunter Schroeder and Shawn Anglin gave Nevis a 4-2 lead with 15:57 to play in the first half before Sebeka responded with a 12-0 run to take a lead it would not relinquish. Two inside baskets by John Clark sparked that run as Sebeka claimed a 14-4 lead with 8:50 remaining in the first half.
Two free throws by Anglin and layups by Schroeder and Anglin kept Nevis within 16-10 at the 7:27 mark before the Trojans went on a 10-3 run to claim a 26-13 edge with 2:38 left in the half.
Schroeder's two layups and four free throws by Mitch Rehkamp pulled Nevis to within 31-22 at the break.
The Tigers used a 3-pointer by Rehkamp, layups by Dylan Stenberg and Schroeder, a jumper by Stenberg and a 3-pointer by Taylor Chase to close the gap to 40-34 with 10:47 to play.
Joey Cuperus hit two inside jumpers as Sebeka responded with an 8-0 run for a 48-34 lead with 8:51 left.
Anglin scored three inside baskets as Nevis trailed 50-40 with 7:18 remaining, but the Trojans used layups by Cuperus, Ryan Sharp, Alex Brockpahler and Cody Pulju to push the lead to 58-40 with 3:43 remaining.
Layups by Stenberg and Schroeder closed the margin to 58-44 with 2:56 to go before Pulju and Clark combined to hit eight free throws in the final 2:03 to seal the win.
Anglin led the Tigers with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Schroeder had 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Rehkamp grabbed seven rebounds and Stenberg had three assists and two steals as Nevis ended the season with a 22-7 record.
Cuperus (19), Pulju (14), Sharp (14) and Brockpahler (13) hit double digits to lead a balanced attack for the Trojans, who improved to 27-2 on the season. Sharp had 13 rebounds, Brockpahler dished out nine assists, Pulju had four steals and Cuperus blocked three shots for the Trojans, who won despite missing all 12 3-point attempts. Sebeka, the defending Section 5A champion, is ranked No. 3 in the latest state Class A poll.
"The final score didn't really indicate how close the game was," said Nevis head coach Scott Kramer. "The loss of Nolan to injury was really devastating for the team, but the guys played with so much heart and desire. It was tough to see them have to lose the game. Our goal was to get to state. We did everything possible to put ourselves in a position to compete for that goal, but unfortunately it didn't work out that way."
NEVIS: Schroeder 7 1-1 15, Anglin 7 2-3 16, Stenberg 3 0-0 6, Chase 1 0-0 3, Rehkamp 1 4-4 7, Gustafson 0 0-0 0, Schuldt 0 0-0 0, Gooch 0 1-4 1. Totals: 19 (FG), 8 for 12 (FT).
SEBEKA: Cuperus 9 1-3 19, Clark 3 2-2 8, Pulju 3 8-10 14, Brockpahler 5 3-5 13, Sharp 4 6-10 14, Funk 0 0-0 0, Kinnunen 0 0-0 0, York 0 0-0 0, Huttunen 0 0-0 0, Strayer 0 0-0 0, Gronlund 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 for 59 (FG), 20 for 30 (FT).
Halftime: Sebeka 31, Nevis 22. Three-point field goals: Rehkamp 1, Chase 1. Total fouls: Nevis 22, Sebeka 16. Fouled out: Stenberg, Schroeder.
Tigers upset Bertha-Hewitt
Nevis avenged a 56-44 loss to Bertha-Hewitt in the regular-season finale to advance to a subsection title game for the first time since 2002.
Stenberg led the Tigers with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals while Schroeder finished with 14 points. Toft had 11 points and Chase chipped in nine points, six rebounds and four assists. Logan Gooch added four rebounds for the Tigers, who led 28-17 at the half.
B-H, which was ranked No. 6 in the latest Class A poll, ended the season with a 22-4 record.
"This was a great win for our team and our basketball program," said Kramer. "The guys fought hard the entire game. We focused on having good offensive possessions and to keep them out of the lane on defense and we were very successful in doing that. It was a total team effort. The kids really stepped up, especially after Nolan was sidelined."