Fight to the finish: Blossoms score a big win in Southland

Published 10:17 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

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BLOOMING PRAIRIE – The Awesome Blossoms boys basketball team scored the signature win they’ve been looking for when they held on to beat Southland 47-46 in Adams Monday.

BP (21-2 overall) took the lead for good when Zack Hein hit back-to-back lay-ups to make it 44-40 with 2:52 left in the game and Gabe Staloch added a clutch jump shot to make it 46-43.

Cole Miller drilled a deep three-pointer for the Rebels (18-4 overall) to pull them within 47-46 with 2.9 seconds left in the game and Southland had a chance to win the game after a missed free throw by BP’s Gabe Hein. However, Nick Edland’s half court heave went wide at the buzzer.

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“We needed a challenge,” said BP’s Cooper Cooke, who finished with five points and 11 rebounds. “We just came out and played our way and we won. We’re happy about that. I know all of the other guys can score for us and I’ll do the work in the paint.”

Gabe Hein finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots for BP and he netted his 1,000th career point when he hit a three early in the game.

“I knew (1,000) was coming and it was a big deal, but I just wanted this win so bad. This gives us a chance for the number one seed (in the section) and honestly by the end of the game, I kind of forgot that I hit 1,000. It wasn’t even in my head, because we really wanted to pull out this win,” Gabe said. “Tonight was so much different. The gym was packed and it was like a playoff atmosphere.”

Southland hit its first three three-pointers of the night as it jumped out to a 17-4 lead. That lead was still 34-28 when Nick Edland hit a three with 12 minutes left in the game, but BP bounced back with an 11-2 run to go up 39-36. 

Edland finished with 16 points and five rebounds for the Rebel.

“We hit our shots at the start and as the game went on we kind of cooled off,” Edland said. “When we figure out how to keep that heat throughout the entire game we’re not losing in my opinion. Blooming Prairie played a great game tonight. The Hein twins are incredible, (Brady) Kittelson is incredible and their entire team is so athletic. “

BP was able to crawl out of the early hole by switching to a man-to-man defense and the Blossoms also found a way to get big buckets down the stretch. Kittelson converted a three-point play that brought BP within 34-33 and Cooke delivered a put-back that put BP up 37-36.

“We came out going a hundred miles an hour and we were way too quick. We had to slow down,” BP head coach Cam Rutledge said. “The crowd was crazy from start to finish and Southland’s a really good team. This was a great win for us.”

BP 18  29  –  47

Southland 25  21  –  46

BP scoring: Gabe Hein, 18; Brady Kittelson, 11; Zack Hein, 9; Cooper Cooke, 5; Gabe Staloch, 4

Southland scoring: Nick Edland, 16; Cole Miller, 11; Sam Boe, 6; Jonas Wiste, 5; Gavin Nelsen, 5; Noah Bauer, 3