Final career home game ends with miracle shot
Every kid dreams of making a long shot at the buzzer to win the game. Rarely does the dream come true.
Unless you're Aaron Lindahl.
The Benson senior drained "The shot heard 'round the area", a 75-foot heave at the buzzer in overtime in the Braves' 69-66 win over Minnewaska Area in the quarterfinals of Section 6AA-South in Benson.
"I didn't see it right away so I wasn't sure if it was going to go in or not," said Lindahl, who had two defenders in his face. "Then I saw it from the side and I saw it was on a straight line, but wasn't sure if it was long or short."
Coaches on both teams heard comments about the shot all day on Friday.
Minnewaska had tied the game 66-66 when Mike Whittemore cashed a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining.
"After (Whittemore) made the first free throw, we called a timeout," said Benson coach Roger Lindahl, Aaron's father. "I wasn't really thinking all that much about setting up for the winning shot as I was about making sure that if Minnewaska missed the second free throw, we didn't want them to get the offensive rebound."
Coach Lindahl told his team that if the second free throw is made, he wanted the ball in Aaron's hands. Aaron averages 28 points-per-game and finished with 38 this night. If Benson couldn't find Aaron open, they were going to call another timeout.
After the second free throw, Benson's Brennan Kent took the ball out of bounds and Lindahl got open after a pick by Dan Martin. Lindahl was headed left, then turned and dribbled right and let fly from the hip.
The ball hit the back of the rim, then the front and then the back again in rapid succession before descending through the cords.
"I threw my arms up in the air and went over to hug my point guard (Martin)," said Aaron. "It made it pretty special because it was a playoff game and it was the final game of my career on my home court."
Coach Lindahl ex-plained that Aaron shoots that type of shot "a couple of times in every practice" and that he has made the shot a few times.
"I would've been happy no matter who hit the shot," said Roger. "But it does make it special when it's your own kid."
On the other side of the court were the stunned Minnewaska coaches and players.
"My worry was that we don't make the second free throw to tie the game," said Minnewaska coach Phil Johnsrud. "So during the timeout I told my guys to make sure they hit the boards hard and if they do get the rebound not to panic and shoot too quick. If they didn't get the rebound, they were to foul immediately."
When Kent took the ball out of bounds after Whittemore made the second free throw, Minnewaska had two defenders back. And when Lindahl let the ball go, the defenders were close enough to disrupt the shot, but not close enough to foul him.
"I feel better knowing we didn't do anything wrong to lose the game," Johnsrud said. "At first, I actually thought the shot was short. If there is a positive and it had to happen to us, I'm glad that it was one of my friends and his son."
Benson will now face Morris at 6 p.m. today at the University of Minnesota-Morris in the semifinals.
Wollin breaks Litch girls' scoring mark
Jamie Wollin, a Litchfield senior guard, finished her prep basketball career as the all-time leading girls' scorer at Litchfield.
She is the only girl at Litchfield to score 500-or-more points twice in a season.
Wollin, who finished with 1,438 career points, passed Colette Ness, a 1990 graduate who had 1,419 points late in the season.
Kiauna Burns, a 1996 Litchfield graduate and a former Minnesota Gopher, scored 1,592 career points, but many of those came during her prep career in Illinois before she moved to Litchfield.
Uttermark left off state medal list
We inadvertently left Thomas Uttermark of MACCRAY off the list of state wrestling medal winners from the area when it was published on Monday.
Uttermark was fourth at 189 pounds in the Class A tournament. He finished with a 34-7 record.