April 21, 2024

State Basketball Tournament – WCA comes up short in 3OT thriller against Fertile-Beltrami

Camden Anderson was the one representative from West Central Area to be named to the Class A All-Tournament Team after three state games over the weekend.

Find this content useful? Share it with your friends!

Sam Peterson

Grant County Herald

In what could be considered the game of the Minnesota Boys State Basketball tournament, the Knights took on Fertile-Beltrami in the Class A semifinals at Williams Arena March 22. The teams needed three overtime periods and 12 extra minutes to decide a winner. With massive momentum swings in the closing moments of the game, Fertile-Beltrami took control in the third overtime to come away with an 84-75 win over the Knights.

It was a defensive battle in the first 18 minutes of play. The Knights held early leads of 3-0, 12-8 and 14-13. Fertile-Beltrami then scored the next six points to take a 19-14 advantage and didn’t give up the lead for the rest of the half. 

WCA got back to within three off a Sam Hanson bucket to make it 21-18 with just over three minutes left in the half. Fertile-Beltrami responded to push the lead back up to 26-20 at halftime.

The Falcon defense was tough to crack in the first half and they were able to hold Camden Anderson scoreless in the first half. Ben Bye led the team with eight points and five rebounds at the break.

Just over three minutes into the second half, Fertile-Beltrami had their lead up to eight points at 32-24. 

Slowly, the Knights started to climb back in the game and with a three ball from Kjesbo, WCA took their first lead of the second half at 38-37 with just over six minutes on the clock. 

For the rest of regulation, each team took turns with the lead and the largest advantage for either team was just three points. 

WCA trailed by three points with 12 seconds on the clock with the ball. After a broken play, Mitchell Dewey got the ball 30 feet from the basket at the top of the key and banked in a three with a defender in his face to tie the game at 51-51 and force a four-minute overtime period. 

In the first overtime, WCA held a three point advantage with 25 seconds left. Fertile-Beltrami knocked down a three to tie the game at 60-60 with four seconds on the clock to force a second overtime.

In the second overtime period, neither team had a lead of more than two points. With the game locked at 67-67, Mitchell Dewey had another chance for a buzzer-beater, but his halfcourt heave went in and out, sending the teams into a third overtime.

In the third overtime period, the Knights just ran out of gas. Fertile-Beltrami could hardly miss in the final four minutes, outscoring WCA 12-6 to bring an end to the marathon game and sent the Knights to the Class A third place game.

“Extremely proud of our guys,” head coach Kraig Hunter said. “They played as hard as they could for 48 minutes. We tip our hats to Fertile-Beltrami. Both teams hit tons of clutch shots. They hit 12 of 26 threes and 18 of 21 free throws and you have to congratulate them.”

The Knights finished the game with four players in double figures. Bye led the way with 23 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Bryce Kjesbo added 18 points, four rebounds and two steals. Anderson had a double-double with 16 points (all in the second half), 10 assists and five rebounds. Nasir Dotts added four points and two assists. Hanson chipped in with three points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Find this content useful? Share it with your friends!