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No. 3 Cannon Falls, No. 2 Caledonia survive and advance to Section 1, 2A boys basketball semifinals

Mar. 6—ROCHESTER — It wasn't easy, but both second-seeded Caledonia and No. 3 Cannon Falls were able to survive in Section 1, Class 2A boys basketball quarterfinal play on Wednesday night.

Caledonia held off No. 7 Winona Cotter 63-59 while Cannon Falls escaped with a 71-69 win over No. 6 Lewiston-Altrua at Mayo Civic Arena.

"This time of year you just want to get one more point then they do," Cannon Falls coach Josh Davisson said.

The Bombers nearly let a 22-point second-half lead slip away. L-A trailed by two and had a chance to tie or win the game when it got a defensive stop with less than 10 seconds to play.

But Cannon Falls junior Jack Meyers, who finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds, had a steal and then raced up the court to run out the clock and secure the win.

"I saw No. 4 (Jace Ferguson), they were going his way the whole game, so I just stepped in and made the play," Meyers said.

"He found a way to hit a couple of nice buckets in the second half that extended the lead and that steal was just a big play," Cannon Falls coach Josh Davisson said. "It's hard to coach that."

Cannon Falls appeared to be in control, leading 54-32 with 14 minutes remainng. But the Cardinals started to get some defensive stops and also started dropping in shots from all over the floor. L-A senior Jace Ferguson hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first half, while knocking down three more triples with 11 more points in the second half. Zane Nelson also scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.

The Cardinals closed the game on a 14-6 run and had a final chance to tie or win with the late defensive stop. They pushed the ball up the court, but maybe not quite as quick as L-A coach Michael VanderPlas wanted.

"We wanted to be a little more aggressive off of that rebound," the coach said. "We just kind of held up a little bit and it allowed them to get into position."

"He's an incredible athlete," Davisson said of Meyers. "He finds ways to put himself into and sometimes out of trouble. He just has a knack."

Cannon Falls standout Aiden Johnson ran into foul trouble in the first half, yet still scored 11 of his 15 points the first 18 minutes. But when he went out, Dylan Banks stepped up. Banks hit five of his six 3-pointers in the first half when he scored 18 of his team-high 23 points.

"He's very athletic, for one, but he's just got a different mindset," Davisson said of Banks, who also guarded Ferguson much of the game. "... He kind of has the will to push himself through and take the tough assignments on both ends."

But L-A didn't make the game easy on the Bombers. Cannon Falls had pulled out a narrow 64-61 win when the two teams met in the regular season.

"They played hard and you never get a break," Davisson said. "I'm glad there weren't 30 more seconds left."

The Cardinals close the season 18-10 after finishing 10-17 with basically the same team from a year ago.

"These guys put a lot of work in this year and kind of flipped that so we're proud of them," VanderPlas said.

Cannon Falls 71, Lewiston-Altura 69

No. 6 LEWISTON-ALTURA (69)

Wyatt Kreidermacher 10 P, 2 3-PT; Jace Ferguson 25 P, 7 3-PT; Zane Nelson 12 P, 11 R, 1 3-PT; Will Kreidermacher 8 P, 2 3-PT; Nolan Oslie 12 P, 7 R, 1 3-PT; Payton Buytaert 2 P; Tyson Prigge 3 R.

No. 3 CANNON FALLS (71)

Jack Meyers 11 P, 14 R; Dylan Banks 23 P, 6 3-PT; Aiden Johnson 15 P, 5 R, 1 3-PT; Carson Henry 8 P; Gavin Johnson 14 P, 5 R.

Halftime: CF 41, LA 27.

Free throws: LA 6-7, CF 9-16.

Three-point goals: LA 13, CF 7. Rebounds: LA 26, CF 31. Turnovers: LA 13, CF 11.

It wasn't easy, but Caledonia also survived against Winona Cotter.

The Warriors had beaten Cotter handily in two regular-season games in the Three Rivers Conference. But this one was close all the way and Caledonia had to rally in the second half and then held on at the end.

"We're just happy to still be playing," Caledonia coach Brad King said.

Cotter had a chance to tie or go ahead when Caledonia missed a free throw while leading 61-59 with 12 seconds to play. But the Ramblers turned the ball over in the backcourt after securing a rebound.

"I think we had some miscommunication or else we have a shot to tie or win," Cotter coach Mike Costello said. "... We felt we could play with them, and things panned out, we just didn't get the job done."

Caledonia had some foul trouble in the game and Cotter was able to limit its turnovers. Plus the game didn't become too high scoring, which is what Cotter wanted.

"We had a hard time putting the ball in the hole," King said.

The Warriors shot 40.3% from the field (23-for-57).

Cotter held a 40-34 lead with 12 minutes to play, but Reid Klug and Mason King both had big finishes for the Warriors. Klug scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half while King dropped in nine of his 14 points over the final 18 minutes.

"They're a tough team," Costello said. "When we got up four or six in the second half, they definitely scrapped."

Coach King said the Warriors played better defense at times in the second half. The Warriors had several big steals that they converted into buckets and the 6-foot-4 Klug was also a scoring force inside.

"We didn't panic," King said. "The guys executed what we were doing. We had a lot of plays that set up the (cut to) back door. We were willing to take the easy bucket because we needed something to get us going."

Lewis Doyle hit a bucket to put Caledonia up 60-54 with 31 seconds to go and he made a free throw with 19.8 seconds left to make the score 61-57.

Elliott Fitzgerald pulled Cotter within 61-59 by hitting two free throws with 13.6 seconds left. But the Ramblers threw the ball away after Caledonia missed a free throw with 12 seconds to play. Klug then sealed the win with two free throws with 7.6 seconds to go.

Cotter finishes the season 17-11.

Cannon Falls (23-5) and Caledonia (23-4) will meet in the section semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Mayo Civic Center. Caledonia defeated the Bombers late in the regular season.

"We just have to move the ball and play better defense," Meyers said.

Caledonia 63, Winona Cotter 59

No. 7 WINONA COTTER (59)

Elliot Fitzgerald 2 P; John Fritts 13 P, 3 3-PT; Carson Roeder 13 P, 8 R; Luke Gardner 6 P, 7 R, 1 3-PT; Ian Schmidt 6 P, 9R; Desmond Matthews 2 P; Bobby Sandcork 3 P, 4 R; Gabe Stewart 14 P.

No. 2 CALEDONIA (63)

Ben Stemper 5 P, 1 3-PT; Lewis Doyle 8 P, 1 3-PT; Garrett Konz 4 P; Mason King 14 P, 2 3-PT; Reid Klug 20 P, 11 R; Ethan Stendel 8 P, 5 R; Will Hahn 2 P, 4 R.

Halftime: CAL 28, COTT 24.

Free throws: COTT 9-18, CAL 11-13. Field goals: COTT 23-54, CAL 23-57.

Three-point goals: COTT 4, CAL 4. Rebounds: COTT 38, CAL 31. Turnovers: COTT 14, CAL 7.