Warrior Boys Basketball: Kline, Warriors shine late against Sartell
The twine was kind to Riley Kline on Tuesday.
With the Brainerd Warriors trailing the Sartell Sabres 67-66 and the clock reading 10 seconds, Brainerd’s senior point guard penetrated the lane in hopes of dishing off to an open teammate. When no Sabres’ defenders collapsed on him, Kline decided to win the Central Lakes Conference game himself.
The Brainerd High School gym erupted as Kline’s layup handed Brainerd a 68-67 victory and ended the Warriors’ two-game losing skid.
“You dream about that as a kid,” said Kline. “I finally got a chance to win a game. I took the ball to the basket looking for a dish and nobody stepped up to guard me so I just went up for a layup.”
Kline’s assist to a red-hot Jack Sauer helped Brainerd claim a 66-65 lead with 49.1 seconds on the clock. Patrick Fischer’s jumper with 22 seconds left helped Sartell regain a one-point edge before Kline’s heroics.
Kline finished with 11 points. Sauer, who nailed seven 3-pointers, posted a game-high 26 points. Marcus Comstock battled for 12 points to lead Brainerd.
“The players are staying calm and realizing we’ll find a gap and that we have enough shooters on this team that we’ll find a way,” said Warriors head coach Scott Stanfield. “We’ll get an open look or a lane to penetrate eventually. I was a little surprised that after the timeout Sartell came out in man, but I told the kids on the way out of our timeout that if they go man to just run our motion offense. When they did go man, they couldn’t guard us so it was nice to see because it was just a matter of time before one of our kids was going to get a lane. It just happened to be Riley.”
Brainerd exploded out of the halftime break as Comstock scored five straight points. Brainerd built leads of 42-35, 51-41 and 57-46 before Sartell answered. The answer was reserve point guard Paul Coleman, who picked the Warriors apart by hitting three 3-pointers and adding another field goal for a solo 11-2 run. That gave Sartell a 63-60 edge.
“I’ve watched Sartell play four times before this game and (Coleman) never hit one 3-pointer. I called a timeout and told the kids, ‘Don’t leave him.’ That’s pretty good coaching,” Stanfield laughed. I just said ‘Don’t leave him open.’
“Sartell, to their credit, really controlled the tempo of this game. We tried to speed it up a lot, but their point guard (Fischer) is a very strong, physical player and we just didn’t have the strength to body and ride him like we needed to do.
“Our defense, I thought, was not as good as it has been, but that might be because we’ve played four games in seven days or something like that.”
Brainerd forced 13 Sartell turnovers and turned those into 18 points to help offset a 6-of-11 night from the free throw line. Brainerd shot 26-of-53 from the field, including 12-of-25 from 3-point. Tony Sauer, who scored all nine of his points in the first half, nailed three 3s.
“Sartell put pretty good pressure on the ball and were doubling us in the corners,” Kline said. “What we did was just sat and controlled our tempo and hit some 3s. Jack Sauer was having a really good game along with Tony (Sauer) hitting everything.
“When we hit our 3s that just gives us a lot of energy. It gets the crowd into it, which gets us into it.”
Sartell was led by 6-7 junior post Tim Immelman, who tallied 14 points — eight in the second half. Fischer finished with 13 points as did Coleman. The Sabres shot 60 percent from the field, but only got to the foul line three times.
Sartell 33 34 — 67
Brainerd 33 35 — 68
Tom Bearson 7, Patrick Fischer 13, Tim Immelman 14, Zach Jiskra 9, Dylan Hollenkamp 2, Parker Hagen 9, Paul Coleman 11. FG 29-48 (60 percent), FT 3-3 (100 percent), 3-point baskets: 6-14 (43 percent).
Blake Peterson 3, Tony Sauer 9, Jack Sauer 26, Riley Kline 11, Marcus Comstock 12, Jagar Hanson 7. FG 26-53 (49 percent), FT 6-11 (55 percent), 3-point baskets: 12-25 (48percent).
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5856.