After falling behind for the first time in the game, the Nevis boys basketball team took charge down the stretch to earn a trip to the state Class A tournament.
The Tigers trailed 46-43 before going on an 11-2 run to rally past Upsala for a 54-48 victory in the Section 5A championship game at Wadena on Friday, March 26.
A layup by Ty Warrington made it 46-45 with 2:20 to play before Jack McNamee took a charge to give the Tigers possession. Joe Houchin’s layup put the Tigers in front 47-46 before two free throws by Warrington made it 49-46 with 1:07 to play. A layup by Nick Herzog cut the gap to 50-48 with 23 seconds left before Derek Lindow hit three free throws to extend Nevis’ lead to 53-48 with 12 seconds to play. McNamee hit a free throw after grabbing an offensive rebound with 11 seconds remaining and Warrington came up with a steal to seal the win.
Lindow opened the game with a pair of jumpers, Cain Mitchell had a layup, McNamee converted a three-point play, and Warrington hit two free throws and a jumper as Nevis jumped out to a 13-5 lead. A jumper by Lindow and a layup by Houchin kept the Tigers in front 17-9 at the 6:32 mark. Two free throws apiece by McNamee and Eddie Kramer made it 23-15 before Upsala closed the gap to 23-21. A layup by Kramer gave Nevis a 25-21 lead at the half.
Herzog opened the second half with a 3-pointer, but Warrington countered with a pair of 3-pointers and Kramer scored inside to give Nevis a 33-24 advantage with 15:07 to play. A three-point play by Levi Lampert tied the game at 34-34 at the 12:12 mark. After two free throws by Lindow, a layup and a free throw by Houchin, and a 3-pointer by Lindow gave Nevis a 42-38 edge, Herzog followed a 3-pointer with a layup to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 44-42. Another layup by Herzog made it 46-43 before the Tigers rallied.
Lindow finished with 15 points and Warrington added 14 points as the Tigers improved to 20-2.
The Tigers entered as the No. 1 seed in the West.
Lampert (16) and Herzog (14) combined for 30 points as Upsala, the No. 2 seed in the East, ended the season with a 15-7 record.
Nevis’ opponent and the site for the state Class A quarterfinal game are still to be determined.