Section boys basketball: BOLD bows out in 2A-North finals
Sleepy Eye St. Mary's is back in section title game with 64-57 win over Warriors
ST. PETER — Every hard charge BOLD was able to make, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s never surrerdered its advantage.
Down 36-22 at halftime, the Warriors were able to cut the deficit down to two, only for the Knights to score eight straight. Then in the final minute, BOLD went on another run to bring the gap down to three.
Still, SESM stood pat and will play for a second straight Section 2A championship after winning the North sub-section championship 64-57 Tuesday at St. Peter High School.
“We challenged our guys (late in the game) and said we’re going to have to hit free throws,” said Knights head coach Judd Walter. “And even if we don’t, let's get stops. They can’t win the game if we stop ‘em.
“I really liked the way we locked down late in the game.”
Never trailing in the contest, the Knights went on a 13-0 first-half run to build a 31-16 lead. SESM’s offense provided plenty of balance during the opening 18 minutes. Senior post Carson Domeier finished with a team-high 18 points while junior guard Kaleb Wait hit four 3-pointers in a 16-point effort.
“We shot the ball well in the first half,” Walter said. “But I really think defensively is where we set the tone. We wanted to dictate the game on that end of it and make it difficult for them because they’re a very sound offensive team. I think we took them out of what they wanted to do.”
Down 14 at the break, BOLD needed something to light a fire in them defensively.
“We had too many lapses on defense in the first half and a lot of that was transition defense,” said Warriors head coach Jake Brustuen. “We weren’t getting back like we should.
“We made that adjustment and fared better in the second half.”
SESM got the first bucket of the second half, but it was the Warriors who grabbed the early advantage with a 13-4 run that put the score at 40-35.
“Out of the half, we started hitting a lot more shots and we brought a lot more energy to the defensive end,” said freshman guard Jack Gross. “And we started pushing the ball in transition.”
Then with a 3-pointer from Maxwell Marks and a layup from Hudson Vosika, BOLD trailed by just one possession, 42-40 with 11:56 left.
After being shut out in the first half, seniors Marks and Cole Visser each found their stroke after halftime with eight points apiece.
“They were a big part of our year and we knew they weren’t going to go down without a fight,” Brustuen said of Marks and Visser. “It was nice to see them stand up and make some plays and be the leaders they’ve been for us all year.”
But just as quickly as BOLD got it close, SESM pulled away with eight straight points and a 50-40 lead with 9:20 to play.
The Warriors had one last push in them. Gross emerged as a top threat, scoring 11 of his game-high 19 points in the second half.
“I was able to get to the hole more than I usually do,” Gross said.
Then with 1:02 left, Visser hit a 3-pointer that cut the Knights’ lead to 58-55.
But in crunch time, SESM’s defense held firm. Domeier got a block on an Ethan Sullivan layup. The next two Warrior possessions proved fruitless with Visser and Sullivan missing well-guarded 3-pointers. Domeier went 4-for-6 from the free-throw line over the final minute to secure the sub-section championship.
BOLD wraps up the season with a 20-9 record. After sporting a star-driven lineup over the last half-decade, BOLD still found a way to advance far in the postseason with a less-known roster.
“We talked about it with the kids just now in the locker room; people who put stuff out in social media and do all the talkin’ and what-have-you maybe didn’t think our expectations were to be here,” Brustuen said. “But our program’s expectations are that we belong in these games.”
Section 2A-North championship
SESM 64, BOLD 57
BOLD (20-9) 22 35 — 57
SESM (27-2) 36 28 — 64
BOLD - Scoring: Jack Gross 19, Ryan King 14, Cole Visser 8, Maxwell Marks 8, Hudson Vosika 4, Ethan Sullivan 4 … 3-point shots: Visser 2, Marks 2, Gross 1 … Rebound leader: King 15 … Assist leader: King 4 … Steal leader: Five with 1 ... Block leader: King 2
SLEEPY EYE ST. MARY’S - Scoring: Carson Domeier 18, Kaleb Wait 16, Trenton Steffensmeier 13, William Walter 6, Mark Anderosn 4, Jacob Stevens 4, Jonathan Petermann 3 … 3-point shots: Wait 4, Petermann 1, Steffensmeier 1 … Rebound leader: n/a … Assist leader: n/a … Steal leader: n/a ... Block leader: n/a