BUFFALO — For the first time in 11 years the Brainerd Warriors are going to the semifinals of the Section 8-4A tournament.
Eighth-seeded Brainerd earned the right to move on with a spine-tingling 69-67 double-overtime win over No. 1 Buffalo in the quarterfinals Tuesday night.
It was Brainerd’s first quarterfinal win since March 6, 2001, when it nipped Bemidji 53-52.
On Saturday, the Warriors will play No. 5 Moorhead, which bumped off No. 4 St. Michael-Albertville 56-55 in overtime Tuesday. Game time is 10 a.m. at St. Cloud State’s Halenbeck Hall. The Spuds beat Brainerd 71-56 Jan. 31 at Moorhead.
Riley Kline led Brainerd with 18 points, 10 in the first half. He was intentionally fouled with 9/10ths of a second left. Kline made the second free throw, Brainerd passed the ball in bounds and threw it in the air to preserve its 14th win and snap a three-game losing streak.
“It’s a big win for Brainerd basketball. It’s been a long time,” Stanfield said of the postseason drought. “To go down to Buffalo and win like that was really something.
“The kids played hard. They fought through adversity. I thought they held their poise and did the things they had to do to win. It was really fantastic.”
Jacob Blong and Jack Sauer each added 11 points for Brainerd, which led 30-29 at the half. Regulation ended 55-55 and the first overtime 63-63.
“The gym was pretty well-packed for Buffalo,” Stanfield said. “It was loud and noisy, but the kids really held their composure. Buffalo made some runs at us in overtime. But our kids fought through it and held their poise.
“We made some clutch free throws at the end. It was a great night for Brainerd basketball.”
Buffalo was led by Ethan Free with a game-high 28 points. Peter Cassady added 10 and Jackson Schepp nine.
The 8-4A championship is up for grabs. In the bottom bracket Tuesday, No. 2 Rogers beat No. 7 St. Cloud Tech 68-60 and No. 6 Bemidji knocked off No. 3 Elk River 67-64. Rogers and Bemidji play at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at SCSU.
• Brainerd drilled Buffalo 73-52 in the regular season Jan. 7 at Brainerd.
Brainerd 30 25 8 6 — 69
Buffalo 29 26 8 4 — 67
Jackson Schepp 9, Jason Senger 4, Austin Youngs 6, Ethan Freer 28, Dominic Gilmer 7, Caleb Ruter 3, Peter Cassady 10. FT 14-22. Overall: Finish 17-10.
Tony Sauer 6, Jack Sauer 11, Tommy Olson 7, Riley Kline 18, Marcus Comstock 5, Chris Bowman 7, Jacob Blong 11, Jagar Hanson 4. FT 17-25. Overall: 14-12. Next: vs. No. 5 Moorhead, Section 8-4A semifinals, St. Cloud State University, 10 a.m. Saturday.