Huskies Rally Over and Over for Playoff Win
The Owatonna High School boys basketball team scored the final nine points of Tuesday night's playoff opener to beat fifth-seed Farmington 74-71. The win moves the Huskies into the Section 1AAAA semifinals at top-twenty rated Lakeville South at 7 pm Saturday.
OHS sophomore Evan Dushek had a dominating 28-point night while being worked over by a bulky Farmington reserve. Junior Payton Beyer added 20 points including the game-tying three-point play to pull the Huskies even at 71-71. Junior Nolan Burmeister scored most of his ten points in the closing minutes including a pair of three's and a driving layup to give Owatonna a 73-71 lead.
Beyer hit a free throw for the final 74-71 margin with two seconds to go. Farmington's last-second shot was online from just across mid-court but short. That set off a wild celebration for the home-standing Huskies, similar to the reaction of a last-second win about a week earlier over Mankato West.
Owatonna rallied from a double-digit deficit twice in the second half and took advantage of the Tigers decision to burn time, rather than look for baskets, late in the game.
OHS lead early on, including 17-12 about midway through the first half. The Tigers charged forward with a 12-0 run to go up 24-17. The Huskies pulled within 26-24 but trailed 36-28 at the half.
Farmington hit one of their few three's to open the second half, leaving the Huskies down by 11. Owatonna went on an 11-0 run to tie the game at 39-39. The teams traded long three-pointers on their next possessions for a 42-42 deadlock. Owatonna's downtown shot came off the hands of Brayden Williams for his only trey of the night.
The teams traded points for a few minutes before Farmington went on a 9-0 burst, mostly from the free throw line, for a 57-49 lead. The hole got to ten points at 65-55. Owatonna hit some shots down the stretch while the Tigers ran clock and missed free throws.
The score was 71-65 when OHS went on their game-ending 9-0 zip to win the contest 74-71. In a game where every point mattered, Isaac Oppegard added seven, Williams had five, and Ty Creger and Sol Havelka each scored two. Havelka's came at the free throw line when he took shots intended for Oppegard who had to briefly leave the game to have a cut on his nose tended to.
OHS (17-10) plays at Lakeville South (20-7) Saturday, March 7 at 7 pm with coverage on AM 1390 KRFO and the free KRFO app.
The winner will advance to the Section 1AAAA final on Friday, March 13 at Mayo Civic Center Arena against the winner of the Rochester Mayo (21-6) and Rochester Century (19-8) game. The Spartans and Panthers split their games this season.
First round, Section 1AAAA:
No. 4 Owatonna 74, No. 5 Farmington 71
No. 1 Lakeville South 70, No. 8 New Prague 39
No. 2 Rochester Mayo 99, No. 7 Northfield 82
No. 3 Rochester Century 59, No. 6 John Marshall 41