Boys basketball: Athletics shake off elimination in double OT win
Published 11:19 pm Thursday, February 18, 2016
For a team that leans heavily on its four seniors, Thursday night was an incredibly nerve racking and exciting night for the Lyle-Pacelli boys basketball team.
The No. 4 seeded Athletics shook off elimination multiple times as they prevailed 59-58 in double overtime to knock off No. 5 Randolph in Pacelli Gym.
The Athletics (15-10 overall) took the lead for good when Jordan Cotter drove to the hoop and found Lee Bauer for a game-winning lay-up with six seconds left in the game. Randolph missed a contested 15-foot jumper as time expired to end the game.
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“That’s what high school basketball is all about,” LP head coach Scott Koenigs said. “It’s a small town atmosphere and it’s exciting. Obviously it’s a lot more fun to be on this side of it. Randolph played well, but we had guys make plays. A lot of kids stepped up and it was a fun game to be a part of.”
Cotter did a lot of things right for LP as he finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He said he was looking for Bauer on LP’s final possession, which came after they hustled for an offensive rebound off a missed free throw.
“It just opened up. I saw [Bauer] right away and I knew he could do it,” Cotter said. “We’ve got a lot of fight left.”
The Athletics trailed 56-53 earlier in the second overtime when Cotter hit a big three-pointer from the top of the key with 1:03 left.
LP showed its resilience in the win as it forced the second OT when Noah Jiskra converted a steal and turned it into a lay-up to tie the game at 53-53 with 46 seconds left of that session.
But the game’s most dramatic moment came near the end of regulation. The Rockets (14-12 overall) took a 51-48 lead when Grant Otte hit a three-pointer with 15.7 seconds left in the game, but Noah Jiskra gave LP a chance when he drew a foul while shooting a three-pointer with three seconds left.
Jiskra made the first free throw, he missed the second and then he missed the third on purpose. Braden Kocer pulled down the offensive rebound and drew a foul with .6 seconds left on a put-back attempt.
Kocer, who had 16 points and nine rebounds, nailed both free throws to force to the extra session.
“Noah did a perfect job of getting it off the rim to where it needed to be. I kind of got it with one arm and I tried to get fouled,” Kocer said. “I’ve never been more nervous in my life than I was on those free throws. We’ve got a motto that says ‘last breath.’ We’re a senior led team and I just had a feeling something was going to happen tonight. I’m really proud of all the guys.”
LP had trailed 31-21 with 14:25 left in regulation, but it was able to scratch and claw its way back into the game. The Athletics will now take on top-seeded Goodhue in the Section 1A West semifinals in Mayo Civic Auditorium 6 p.m. Monday.
“That was just kids not wanting their careers to end tonight. Our seniors played well,” Koenigs said. “I didn’t sub as much as normal because I wanted the seniors to decide and they didn’t want it to end. They wanted a trip to Mayo and they wanted another shot at Goodhue.”
The Athletics lost 57-44 to Goodhue Jan. 16 in a game that saw them get off to a slow start.
LP scoring: Jordan Cotter, 17; Braden Kocer, 16; Noah Jiskra, 13; Lee Bauer, 7; Brady Lester, 3; Trinity Anderson, 3; free throws: 55 percent (11-for-20); rebounds: 37 (Cotter, 10); turnovers: 12