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Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Tyler Halvorson finds his path to the basket blocked by Benson's Logan Connelly, left, and Matt Ahrndt. Halvorson led NLS with 18 points while Connelly and Ahrndt combined for 52 of the Braves' 75 points.

Boys Basketball: Benson overcomes deficit to edge NLS

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Boys Basketball: Benson overcomes deficit to edge NLS
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Tribune Staff Report

WILLMAR -- Benson overcame a 48-40 deficit with 11 minutes to play to defeat New London-Spicer 75-68 in the lidlifter to the Bremer Bank Holiday Classic on Tuesday.


Benson (6-1) will face Willmar (4-1) in the championship game today. They will play 25 minutes after the conclusion of the NLS (3-5)-Albany (2-4) third-place game that tips off at 6 p.m.

Benson senior guard Logan Connelly hit 6 of 6 free throws down the stretch to finish with 30 points.

Matt Ahrndt followed with 22 points and Sam Peterson supplied 17 points plus 16 rebounds. The trifecta triggered all but 6 of Benson's points.

It's the first Braves' win over NLS since Feb. 13, 2003, by a 59-57 score.

The exciting game was tied 31-31 at halftime. Down by 8, Benson rallied. A 2-point basket by Connelly put Benson up 58-57, but Troy Halvorson, who led NLS with 18 points, put the Wildcats back in front at 64-63.

After a steal and twisting layup by the Wildcat's Josh Gordon -- he got all 8 of his points after halftime - NLS was in front 66-63.

Ahrndt drove the lane for two, drew a foul but missed the free shot. Daniel Lee, making his first start with Colin Ose limited in his playing time by illness and starting forward Carl Hoffman injured (knee), sliced inside for the rebound and scored his only basket of the game.

Joey Dreier, who scored 11 points for NLS, made it 69-68 with 40 seconds left, but the Wildcats would get no closer with Connelly going 10-for-10 at the line.

Sam Quam was also in double figures for the Wildcats, who won't be in the holiday final for the first time since 2002.

Benson 75, NL-Spicer 68

Benson (6-1) 31 44 -- 75

NLS (3-5) 31 37 -- 68

BENSON - 27-51 FG (6-13 3-pt); 13-15 FT; 33 rebounds; 9 fouls ... Scoring: Dan Lee 2, Colin Ose 2, Matt Ahrndt 22, Logan Connelly 30, Tyler Krienke 2, Sam Peterson 17... 3-point shots: Connelly 4, Ahrndt 2 ... Rebound leaders: Peterson 16, Connelly 5, Ahrndt 5 ... Assist leaders: Ahrndt 6, Connelly 6... Steal leaders: Connelly 5

NEW LONDON-SPICER - 27-57 FG (6-20 3-pt); 8-12 FT; 29 rebounds; 16 fouls ... Scoring: Sam Quam 12, Justin Rodgers 2, Trent Boie 6, Joey Dreier 11, Josh Gordon 8, Tyler Halvorson 18, Aaron Ruter 5, Tyson Gislason 6 ... 3-point shots: Quam 1, Dreier 1, Halvorson 4 ... Rebound leaders: Halvorson 6, Gislason 7 ... Assist leaders: Rodger 3, Dreier 8 ... Steal leaders: Ruter 3, Dreier 3