Cannon Falls pulls out thriller against Caledonia with buzzer-beater in boys basketball

Mar. 9—ROCHESTER — With one mad dash, Cannon Falls defeated Caledonia 82-81 on Saturday in an instant classic in Section 1, Class 2A boys basketball semifinal play.

Second-seeded Caledonia had taken an 81-80 lead with just 4.5 seconds to play when Mason King drilled a 3-point shot from beyond the top of key as part of a wild final minute of play.

"He's deadly and he made us pay for that one," Cannon Falls coach Josh Davisson said.

But after a timeout, the Bombers in-bounded the ball to Dylan Banks. The senior guard raced the entire length of the floor and flipped in a left-handed shot at the buzzer as the Bombers stunned Caledonia and sent the Cannon Falls faithful screaming with joy.

"I don't think I've ever ran that fast, except in football," Banks said.

Caledonia had committed more than 10 fouls called in the second half and couldn't afford to be too aggressive when Banks was racing down the court.

"Just go and attack the hoop," Banks said of the strategy. "Worst case scenario, get a foul called."

"We told them to be aggressive and get to the basket," Davisson said. He's (Banks) done that all year for us and there was none bigger than that."

Banks finished with 20 points in the high-scoring game with constant action.

"It was a fantastic basketball game," Davisson said.

The two teams had met late in the regular season. Cannon Falls had struggled to score in that contest. The Bombers were coming off a tough game against Lake City the night before and had suffered a 67-59 loss to Caledonia.

But the rematch was fast paced with plenty of lead changes. Cannon Falls built an early 19-5 lead, but the game was tied 40-40 at the half.

"We moved the ball (better)," Cannon Falls junior Jack Meyers said. "We got the ball in the middle at the top of the key and then distributed it."

Caledonia also shot the ball extremely well and the Warriors were lighting it up from the outside. The Warriors made 14 3-pointers in the game, eight in the first half.

"They shot the ball well so we had to keep putting pressure on them," Davisson said.

Despite not having a lot of depth, the Bombers don't mind playing a quicker paced game.

"My guys like to go fast," Davisson said. "The shot clock is usually not an issue with us. It was just a matter of us getting enough stops and staying within striking distance."

"We've got guys who can score," Meyers said. "We can do either."

In the final wild minute of play, Garrett Konz hit a three to give Caledonia a 78-77 lead with 55 seconds to play. Banks had a three-point play to put the Bombers back up 80-78 with 44 seconds left. King then hit his 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left, setting the stage for Banks.

"Dylan is just a fighter, he finds a way to get things done," Davisson said. "And we had some guys step up for us and make some big plays in key moments."

Aiden Johnson led Cannon Falls with 23 points while Meyers chipped in with 16.

"That was a lot of fun," Banks said.

"Just adrenaline," Meyers added.

King scored 22 points to lead Caledonia. Konz had 20 points and Reid Klug chipped in with 17. The hard-luck Warriors close the season 23-5.

Cannon Falls (24-5) will face Lake City (23-5) in the section title game on Thursday, March 14 at 8 p.m. at Mayo Civic Arena.

Cannon Falls 82, Caledonia 81


Jack Meyers 16 P; Ryan Hjellming 2 P; Dylan Banks 20 P, 2 3-PT; Aiden Johnson 23 P, 3 3-PT; Carson Henry 5 P; Gavin Johnson 16 P, 4 3-PT.

No. 2 CALEDONIA (81)

Ben Stemper 3 P; Lewis Doyle 5 P, 1 3-PT; Grant King 2 P; Garrett Konz 20 P, 5 3-PT; Mason King 22 P, 4 3-PT; Reid Klug 17 P, 1 3-PT; Ethan Stendel 7 P, 1 3-PT; William Hahn 5 P, 1 3-PT.

Halftime: CF 40, CAL 40.

Free throws: CF 17-20, CAL 2-5.

Three-point goals: CF 9, CAL 13.