Frantic Comeback Falls Short; Owatonna Boys Drop Final Game
For the second time in three days, the Owatonna High School boys basketball team was involved in a wild finish at the state tournament. OHS fell 72-69 to Andover in the consolation final Thursday at Concordia University in St. Paul. Just as in the 52-51 loss to Cretin-Derham Hall in the quarterfinals, the game came down to a last-second desperation shot.
In the dog fight of schools that both use the Huskies mascot, Owatonna built an early 13-point lead on hot shooting at the Gangelhoff Center. The advantage slipped to four by halftime, 41-37.
Andover took a lead for the first time with 11:47 remaining in the second half and never trailed again. However, their lead got threatened by a late Owatonna surge.
Andover went ahead 67-58 with 2:15 to go for their biggest lead of the game. Owatonna's Blake Burmeister hit a corner jumper with 1:37 to go to make the score 67-60. Brayden Williams created a steal on the inbounds, leading to an Evan Dushek basket and a 67-62 deficit with 1:37 left.
Ty Creger drilled a three-pointer with 1:01 to go to pull Owatonna within 67-65. Andover hit a pair of free throws for a 69-65 lead. Williams connected on a triple to get Owatonna within 69-68 with 12 seconds left.
Andover made one-out-of-two at the line to lead 70-68. Williams was fouled on a layup with three seconds left. He hit the first free throw but missed the second and fouled the Andover player who rebounded the ball. Ben Kopetzki hit both shots to cap a game-best 29 points.
A three-point try by Creger, who attempted the half-court heave against Cretin-Derham Hall Tuesday at Target Center, shot from the right wing. He hit the backboard but the ball missed the rim.
Burmeister led a three-point exhibition with 6-for-9 from beyond the arc for a 22 point night. OHS went 12-for-26 on treys. Andover hit 11-for-30 from three-point range. Kopetzki had five of them.
Williams scored 21 and handed out 11 assists while grabbing three steals. Dushek, Owatonna's all-time leading scorer, had 16 points. Creger hit 3-for-4 from behind the arc and had ten points and seven rebounds.
The game marked the end of the prep career for ten Owatonna seniors. They are Tyrel Creger, Evan Dushek, Connor Ginskey, Avery Hartman, Jack Helget, Noah Hodgman, Noah Kubicek, Drew Randall, Brayden Williams, and Nick Williams.
The Huskies ended their season at 28-4. Owatonna was appearing at state for the second straight year and eighth time overall. After their opening game loss to Cretin-Derham Hall, OHS bounced back with a 63-45 win over Moorhead in the consolation semifinals.