Blue Devils dropped in overtime

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 23, 2003

Riverland simply got beat at its own game.

Bethany Lutheran made 11-of-12 free-throws in overtime and 33-44 for the game in getting past the host Blue Devil men, 98-90, Wednesday night at Riverland Community College in Austin.

Riverland trailed by as many as 11 in the first half and led by as much as nine in the second, but Bethany Lutheran came back to tie with 1-2 free-throws with 18 seconds left in regulation. The Blue Devils are the best free-throw shooting team in the MCCC South Division, with Bethany Lutheran ranks second.

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The Vikings (9-9, 2-3) applied a zone press for the first time in the game -- a press that Riverland had prepared for -- and forced a turnover. Travis Bredeson drove the lane, was fouled and hit his first of two free-throws to tie the game at 83-all.

Riverland did not call a timeout and cleared half-court with eight seconds to go, but Bredeson deflected the ball from Adam Kasper's hands near the top of the key. Kasper gathered the loose ball and released a three-pointer just before the buzzer, but the ball bounced off the back of the rim to send the game into overtime.

Bethany Lutheran scored the first 11 points of overtime and captured the South Division victory.

"We just decided to break (the press) and not call a timeout, we got a good shot and I thought it was down," said Riverland coach David Lillemon. "But it probably shouldn't have come to that."

The Blue Devils (5-11, 0-4) had eight turnovers in the second half, including one that gave the ball back to Bredeson with time expiring on a one-point lead.

"It was dreadful to watch us turn the ball over at the end," said Riverland sophomore Andy Stouvenel. "I thought we had it the whole way, usually we're pretty good in that situation."

Riverland was up by four until Maurice Lewers netted his fourth three-pointer with 32 seconds left to cut it to one, 83-82.

Bethany Lutheran got to the free-throw line just five seconds into overtime and Bredeson got the Vikings the lead for good. The sophomore point guard was 6-6 at the line in overtime and finished as one of five Vikings in double-figures. Lewers led all scorers with 19 points.

"They always play with big emotion," said Bethany Lutheran coach Art Westphal. "For us to come back in the end on the road, that was big. Of course we could have made it a little easier on ourselves if we make two free-throws with 18 seconds left."

The Vikings led 26-15 during the first half and maintained the edge until Riverland started the second half on a 19-5 run. Kasper hit a pair of three-pointers and Stouvenel hit another from well behind the line, sparking the Devils to a 60-51 lead.

"We came ready to play but we were a little shellshocked with the way Bethany ran," Lillemon said. "We were happy to be down five at half. The guys showed some character coming back the way they did, but it was the defense that got us in the game."

Bethany Lutheran took a timeout and went on a 12-1 run of its own, going ahead 63-61 with 9:41 to play. Another deep three for Stouvenel later tied the game at 72-all, and Curt Peterson's jumper from the elbow got Riverland on top 74-73 with 4:50 to play.

The Devils kept the lead until Bredeson's free-throw evened it late in regulation. The momentum swung into Bethany's court and kept Riverland from scoring for the first 3:19 of overtime. Kelly Connaughty had five of the Devils' seven points in overtime before fouling out with a career-high 18.

"We had practiced against the press but we panicked a little bit," Lillemon said. "They got one turnover and got points off it. We didn't handle it and they scored.

"They like to pressure you to make a quick decision."

Stouvenel and Peterson each poured in 16 points, while Stouvenel led the Devils with nine rebounds. Jeff Roemhildt added 11 points in Riverland's fourth consecutive loss.

The Blue Devils learned that sophomore center Jake Bettis will be out for the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and partially torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Bettis was the team's leading scorer and rebounder before getting injured four games ago in the division opener at Minnesota West.

Riverland will visit Rochester on Saturday for a 3 p.m. meeting with the Yellowjackets.


BETHANY LUTHERAN (98) -- Josh Kasper 4, Tom Metzger 8, Alfonso Mayfield 14, Maurice Lewers 19, Shomari Owens 9, Travis Bredeson 11, Jesse Pfeifer 5, Colby Swanson 14, Jamil Conley 14.

RIVERLAND (90) -- Kelly Connaughty 18, Curt Peterson 16, Adam Kasper 6, Calvin Morris 9, John Tillo 8, Andy Stouvenel 16, Jeff Roemhildt 11, Mark Skellenger 6.

Halftime score--BL 46, Riv 41. Field goals--BL 28-67, Riv 32-74. Free-throws--BL 33-44, Riv 15-17. Three-pointers--BL 9-29 (Lewers 4, Mayfield 2, Metzger 1); Riv 11-31 (Stouvenel 4, Connaughty 3, Peterson 2, Kasper 2). Rebounds--BL 46 (Lewers 12, Mayfield 10); Riv 42 (Stouvenel 9, Skellenger 6). Team fouls--BL 15, Riv 28. Technical foul--Riverland coach Lillemon. Fouled out--Connaughty, Peterson.