Boys basketball: Heartbreak for Warriors
ST. PETER—Heartbreak is holding a lead for nearly the entirety of the sub-section final against one of the top teams in the state, only to see it slip away just before the closing bell. It's point guard Gavin Vosika bent over just beyond the three-point line, devastated, tears welling in the corners of his eyes. It's shock and utter silence and on one side of Gus Young Court at Gustavus Adolphus College while, on the other, players stand atop the chairs that compose the bench, letting out screams of exuberance.
It's the front rim clanging on Vosika's pull-up jumper from above the free-throw line that would have won the game as the final buzzer sounded.
For the BOLD boys basketball team, it's 57-56, Mayer Lutheran.
"That's a tough one to swallow," BOLD head coach Jake Brustuen said. "Our guys gave it all they had. We boxed with them for the whole night and they just made one more play down the stretch than we did. It hurts."
The second-seeded Warriors (22-7) threw everything they had at the top-seeded Crusaders (26-3), but saw an eight-point lead slip away in the final six minutes in the Sub-section 2A final on Monday night.
Vosika led the Warriors with one final valiant effort in a season full of stat sheet-stuffing, finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Carter Henry and Jordan Sagedahl both chipped in 13 points, with Henry grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.
Just moments after BOLD forward Carter Henry converted an alley-oop to break a 54-54 tie, Crusaders forward Garrett Tjernagel converted the eventual game-winning three-point play with 1:06 remaining to give Mayer Lutheran a 57-56 lead—just its second advantage of the day.
Drew Sagedahl missed a pull-up jumper with just under one minute to play, but BOLD's length and athleticism forced a traveling violation on the Crusaders to get the ball back with 43 seconds remaining.
After a pair of timeouts, the Warriors had possession with 1.6 seconds on the clock with an inbounds pass coming underneath the basket.
"We had a different look drawn up expecting them to come out in a different defensive set, but when we saw what they were doing, I told Gavin to just make a play," Brustuen said.
The sophomore almost did.
Vosika caught the ball just above the 3-point line, took two dribbles to his left and pulled up from 17 feet out.
Front rim. Back rim. And out.
"That's the look that we wanted," Brustuen said. "Gavin hit that four, five times during the game. It was just off by an inch."
The Crusaders, winners of 18 straight entering Monday and ranked No. 1 in Class A according to QRF, have the look of a team that could win the state title. BOLD, ranked No. 8, showed it belonged in that same conversation.
"I was talking with their coaches after the game and they just said, 'It's too bad that had to be a sub-section final," Brustuen said. "That had a section final, state feel to it."
The Warriors came out strong defensively, forcing the Crusaders into difficult perimeter looks. Henry threw down a two-handed slam off a pick-and-roll feed from Vosika to give BOLD its biggest lead of the half at 22-14. Henry had two dunks in the half and Vosika and Jordan Sagedahl were hitting from the perimeter to take a 30-26 lead into the locker room.
"I thought we came out playing really well, hitting on the perimeter and winning the rebounding battle," Brustuen said.
As expected, Mayer Lutheran responded quickly in the second half. For the second consecutive game, the Warriors opened the second half with a set play to get an alley-oop for Tjernagel. For the second consecutive game, it worked to T.
BOLD, though, opened its lead back to five points at 35-30 on a Dawson Vosika fastbreak layup, but the Crusaders claimed their first lead of the day at 38-37 on a Kobey Woolhouse triple from the corner.
The Vosikas answered quickly. Out of a timeout, Gavin nailed a pull-up jumper to reclaim the lead, then he and older brother Dawson both hit 3-pointers on consecutive possession to claim a seven-point advantage. Gavin would bury another triple minutes later to open up a 48-40 lead with just over six minutes to play.
"It seemed like for a while there, Gavin just told everyone to get on his back," Brustuen said.
Tjernagel capped a 14-6 run for the Crusaders over the next three minutes, 50 seconds to tie the game at 54 on a layup with 2:20 to go.
"We just got a little sloppy once we got out to that eight-point lead," Brustuen said. "I thought that if we could get some good possessions and hit some shots to hold them off, we'd be in a good spot."
Following a missed runner by Gavin Vosika, Mayer Lutheran once again attempted the same set play it ran to open the half. This time, the lob pass was knocked away in the air, leading to Henry's alley-oop dunk.
"Carter gets that dunk and we're feeling pretty good there for a second," Brustuen said. "Then they just come right back down and we pick up a silly foul and, credit to them, they finish through the contact."
The Crusaders advanced to play Springfield in the Section 2A final on Friday in St. Peter.
The Warriors return all five starters and their sixth man for next year's squad, but that didn't stop Monday night from stinging.
"I told the guys that every last one of them left everything they had out there on the court," Brustuen said. "It hurts and this one is going to sting for a while. But we had guys with cuts and blood putting everything they had into winning that game.
"They have everything to be proud of."
Section 2A Semifinals
Mayer Lutheran 57, BOLD 56
BOLD (22-7) 30 26 — 56
ML (26-3) 26 31 — 57
MAYER LUTHERAN - Stats not provided.
BOLD - Scoring: Drew Sagedahl 3, Gavin Vosika 18, Jordan Sagedahl 13, James Woelfel 2, Carter Henry 13, Dawson Vosika 7 ... 3-point shots: D. Sagedahl 1, G. Vosika 3, D. Vosika 1 ... Rebound leader: Henry 12, G. Vosika 8, J. Sagedahl 8 ... Assist leader: G. Vosika 7, D. Sagedahl 4 ... Steal leader: G. Vosika 1, J. Sagedahl 1, Henry 1