Last-minute win, last-seconds loss for Lanesboro boys

RON MAYER/NEWS LEADER Jake Gathje finds an opening in a crowd of Lourdes defenders to put up a shot for Lanesboro.
S. Lee Epps

Both nail-biters were decided very late as the Lanesboro boys staged second-half rallies in both a win and a loss. In their second game at the Holiday Classic at Winona State on Dec. 30, the Burros turned back Class AA Cotter/Hope Lutheran, 66-59.

Four days later, the final basket belonged to LeRoy-Ostrander, which edged the visiting Burros, 72-68. Lanesboro left LeRoy with a 4-6 season record (1-5 SEC)

LHS 66, Cotter/Hope 59

LHS 31+35=66

C/H 24+35=59

The Burros scored eight of the final nine points to seal the hard-fought win. Although both teams scored 35 points in the second half, Lanesboro was unable to protect a seven-point halftime lead (31-24) and even fell behind by seven points in the second half (50-43).

But at that most discouraging point, the Burros regained the lead (51-50) with an 8-0 run. Two steals and two Ryan Holmen offensive rebounds fueled that critical spurt.

Back-to-back 3-balls from John Prestemon gave LHS a 58-53 lead, but C/H caught up again at 58-all. But the Ramblers would add only one free throw during the final three minutes, undone by three straight turnovers.

Lanesboro seized the win with a steal and fast-break basket by Prestemon along with 4-for-8 free throw shooting in the final 95 seconds.

"A good win for us in the WSU Holiday Tourney," said coach Matt Asleson. "A couple runs by both teams made it a fun and exciting game. I was happy to see us respond to the run Cotter made in the second half and retake control of the game.  We were able to force some turnovers with our pressure defense, which made a difference.”

The pace was fast, determined by that Lanesboro full-court defense. That Burro pressure directly forced 12 Rambler turnovers, which led to 8 quick transition points for Lanesboro and denied scoring opportunities for C/H. But the Ramblers also beat the press to score 12 points.

That racehorse pace was repeatedly interrupted by whistles stopping the action for 44 fouls and 56 free throws. The Ramblers scored three more points at the charity line (17 for 29) than did LHS (14 for 27).

Cotter/Hope also fared better from 3-point land, where the Ramblers hit 6 of 17 treys (35%) and the Burros 4 of 20 (20%).

But LHS held a 16-point advantage with 2-point shots, outscoring C/H 44 to 29 in the lane. The Burros scored inside with the dribble (7 points), the pass (10 points), offensive rebounds (10) and fast breaks (14).

Prestemon closed with 23 points while J. T. Rein scored 15 points along with 6 rebounds. Sawyer Johnson added 10 points and 3 assists.

Holmen put in 8 points while assisting on another 3 baskets and pulling down 6 rebounds. Bodin Mayer came away with a team-high 8 rebounds.

Hayden Lawstuen added 4 points, Carter Clarke 3, Mayer 2 and Ben Eversole 1.

"John had a really nice game for us," added Asleson. "He was able to create scoring opportunities for himself and was very active on the defensive end.

"J. T. Rein had another strong game, taking the ball to the basket and getting his hands on a lot of loose balls."

Lanesboro trailed in the early going. But then after five lead changes in the middle of the first half, Lanesboro surged ahead with a 13-0 run, fueled with steals out of the full-court pressure defense.

The Ramblers would slice that 11-point margin down to seven at halftime.

It was the second seven-point setback for Cotter/Hope (1-7) in the holiday event, having lost to Cochrane-Fountain City, 57-50. Lanesboro had dropped a 68-46 decision against Chatfield.

The B teams also saw action with the Burros controlling Cotter/Hope, 41-22.


L-O 72, LHS 68

LHS 25+43=68

L-O  37+35=72

The lead changed hands six times down the stretch, including the Cardinals' game-winning shot with 12 seconds to play. Down 69-68, the Burros then missed a 3-point shot and a tough, contested put-back attempt before LeRoy-Ostrander scored the final three points from the free throw line during the final two seconds.

It was a 3-point duel during the final minute and 43 seconds. Johnson buried a trey to put LHS up 64-63 and then assisted on a Prestemon triple to extend the lead to 67-63 with only 56 seconds remaining.

But sandwiched around a Prestemon free throw, back-to-back 3-balls from L-O sophomore Levi Royston won it for the home team. Those were the only six points scored by Royston all night.

That frantic finish was not foreseen by most as Lanesboro trailed almost all game - by as many as 14 points in both halves,

Down 37-25 at halftime, Lanesboro quickly got it back to single digits at 39-32, but L-O scored the next six to make it double digits again.

Later, Lanesboro trailed by 12 (55-43) before surging back with a 16-to-3 run. With just under five minutes to play, Johnson's third straight basket, a 3-pointer, put LHS ahead 59-58 - the Burros' first lead since 8-7. The lead went back-and-forth the rest of the way.

"After not playing our best in the first half, we battled extremely hard in the second half," said the coach.

"Those back-to-back 3's by Royston were huge; give him a lot of credit for knocking them down. We were able to force some turnovers, but offensive rebounds really hurt us."

After shooting 29% with 8 turnovers in the first half, Lanesboro shot 45% with only 4 turnovers in the second half.

Johnson finished with a career-high 29 points, Prestemon with 18 (all in the second half) and Holmen with 10. Rein added 6 points, Clarke 3 and Ben Snyder 2.

"Sawyer had an outstanding game for us," added Asleson, "knocking down some big shots. He was very disruptive on the defensive side also.   

"John, after a quiet first half, he really led us in the second half. He was able to knock down some shots and set up his teammates for some buckets.”

But on the other end, the Burros had no answer for L-O senior center Riley Olson, who poured in 40 points. He and sophomore post Tanner Olson (11 points) presented not only height but also muscle and athleticism inside.

A tough loss for us," lamented Asleson, "We struggled with their size and strength. Olson really took it to us."

The Burros were outrebounded by 15 despite 7 boards each from Rein and Mayer along with 6 from Holmen and 5 from Johnson.

LHS was much better with 3 pointers (11 for 28, 39%) than the Cards (5 for 19, 26%), but the teams shot about the same from the field overall (LHS 38%, L-O 37%).

The deciding factor came with the home team's 16-point advantage at the foul line. L-O made nearly twice as many free throws (19 for 33) as the Burros attempted (3 for 10).

The LeRoy-Ostrander team improved to 5-6 (3-4 SEC).

Lanesboro won the B team game 54-26 and also the eighth grade contest 64-26, but the Cardinals took the tight seventh grade game 34-32.

In tournament action against larger schools at St. Mary's, the Burro eighth graders lost to Red Wing 40-36 before coming back for wins over La Crescent-Hokah 40-36 and Alma-Pepin (Wisconsin) 42-40.

The seventh grade Burros dropped all three tourney games against Red Wing (35-34), Caledonia (44-24) and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (48-21).

This week and next

The boys were playing a rematch at division-leading Houston as this edition was going to press on Tuesday of this week. They are back home tonight (Thursday, Jan. 9) for the rematch against Mabel-Canton and then again on Friday, Jan. 10, against Grand Meadow.

Next week begins with a Monday, Jan. 13, non-conference bus ride to Wabasha-Kellogg. Lanesboro next travels to Randolph on Friday, Jan. 17.