ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

State Basketball: CMCS suffers another last-second loss

ST. PAUL -- Red Lake and Central Minnesota Christian School reported to Concordia University's Gangelhoff Center bright and early Saturday morning for their 8 a.m. tip-off. It wasn't exactly the ideal time for a consolation bracket title game.

3245451+1edit.jpeg
Central Minnesota Christian senior Austin Marcus (22) drives to the basket Saturday morning during Class A consolation championship game against Red Lake at the Gangelhoff Center on the campus of Concordia St. Paul. Maggi Stivers | Forum News Service

 ST. PAUL -- Red Lake and Central Minnesota Christian School reported to Concordia University’s Gangelhoff Center bright and early Saturday morning for their 8 a.m. tip-off. It wasn’t exactly the ideal time for a consolation bracket title game.

“We’re not really a morning team,” Red Lake senior guard Jamie Cook.

Maybe not. But the Warriors were certainly awake when it counted -- in the clutch.

With Red Lake down two points, Cook drained a corner three with nine seconds remaining to help the Warriors earn the hard-fought 56-55 win over Central Minnesota Christian, clinching the Class A consolation basketball title Saturday morning at Concordia-St. Paul.

“Despite being so early in the morning, I thought both teams came to play today,” Red Lake head coach Roger White said. “It was a fun, exciting game. Back-and-forth the entire way, down to the last second there… it was a good game to end the season.”

ADVERTISEMENT

It was the first consolation title for the Warriors, who finish the season 27-5. The Bluejays, meanwhile, lost their second game in the tournament on a last-second clutch shot. CMC (27-5) had lost their Class A quarterfinal game against North Woods on Thursday following Cade Goggleye’s improbable half-court buzzer-beater.

“You feel bad for the kids, you lose on two kinda game-winners like that there, it’s hard to stomach,” CMC head coach Ted Taatjes said. “It’s tough. You don’t have the answers to tell the kids. I didn’t have one for them. It just wasn’t meant to be this time.”

Cook’s game-winner Saturday was less dramatic, but still clutch. And it came on the heels of another nice shot, this one from the Bluejays’ Ethan Brouwer. He drained an open trey with just 26 seconds to go, which gave CMC a 55-53 lead.

The Warriors took timeout to talk about their next move. They didn’t need a three, down just two points, but Cook said he could visualize it.

“All (coach White) said was, ‘Just to get it in, run the play ‘horns’, attack the basket and score,’” said Cook, who finished with 12 points. “But (Warriors guard Rob McClain) told me, just hit the shot. So I came off the screen, he dished it off to me and the rest is history.”

McClain, who led the Warriors with 16 points and six assists, got an inbound feed from Anthony Beaulieu at the top of the key, then drove to the basket to draw some defenders to him, then dished to Cook in the corner. Cook wasn’t wide open, but had a good look and nailed it.

The game wasn’t quite over yet, though. Taatjes called timeout to draw up a last play with two seconds remaining.

They got it to Brouwer, but his off-balance three didn’t go and Red Lake took the win.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It just came down to some big shots down the stretch,” Taatjes said. “We answered them back and forth there, but they made the last shot.”

Red Lake had trailed by as many as nine points in the first half and went into the locker room down 26-19 -- thanks in part to some poor free throw shooting. The Warriors went 2-for-9 from the line in the first half.

In a second-half that featured seven lead changes, the Bluejays kept theirs for much of it. Kendall Whitefeather’s three with minutes seconds left gave the Warriors their first lead since late in the first half.

From there, it was back-and-forth and blow-for-blow. Whitefeather, who finished with 12 points, and Cook each drained a pair of threes in the second half while the Bluejays had an answer in the form of Brouwer, who led all scorers with 21 points, and Van Eps, who had 18. CMC went 6-for-13 (46.2 percent) from beyond the arc in the second half and 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) overall.

In the last four minutes of the game, the lead changed four times.

Van Eps had put CMC ahead 52-49 with a deep three -- his sixth of the game -- with 2:10 to go before Cook made a layup a minute later to cut the lead to 52-51.

But before the teams could exchange dramatic threes to end the game, Warriors had to get the ball back with under a minute left. Rob Beaulieu was fouled and drained both shots with 44 seconds left to help Red Lake go back on top, 53-52.

Cook said he and the Warriors had expected a close game against the team that ended Red Lake’s season in 2016. CMC had beaten the Warriors 79-45 in the third place game a year ago.

ADVERTISEMENT

“They’re a talented team,” he said. “That’s why they made it to state.”

The Warriors, who were making their fourth consecutive state tournament appearance with a team that features four seniors, were glad to get a chance to win to end their season. In the past, there was no consolation tournament.

“We’re very fortunate to have two wins in a row to end the season and win the consolation championship,” White said.

Related Topics: BASKETBALLBBE JAGUARS
Jack is a copy editor for Forum News Service.
What To Read Next
Prep wrestling report for Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in west central Minnesota. BBE beats Minneota and HLWW, falls to Canby
Girls basketball report for Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in west central Minnesota. Jaguars hold off Sauk Centre 46-41 before a packed house in Belgrade
Cullen Gregory, Jordan Gorans each score 2 goals in Willmar’s road win
Prep boys basketball report for Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in west central Minnesota. Jaguars edge Mainstreeters 59-57 in a matchup of state-ranked teams