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Area Boys Basketball: Cowboys lasso trip to state

Cowboys 49, Rangers 47 Key: Ashton Hegge's lay in at the buzzer wins the game Overall: Breck 21-7, CI 22-8 Next: Breckenridge in Class 2A state quarterfinals at Target Center/Williams Arena in Minneapolis Wednesday MOORHEAD - Tyler Bormann though...

Cowboys 49, Rangers 47

Key: Ashton Hegge's lay in at the buzzer wins the game

Overall: Breck 21-7, CI 22-8

Next: Breckenridge in Class 2A state quarterfinals at Target Center/Williams Arena in Minneapolis Wednesday

MOORHEAD - Tyler Bormann thought his program was one year away - he was wrong.

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The third-year head coach watched his senior-led, third-seeded Breckenridge Cowboys hit a game-winning runner as time expired to break a 36-year state tournament drought Friday.

Ashton Hegge, the only non-senior starter for Breckenridge lifted the ball off his fingertips as the backboard lit up to give the Cowboys a 49-47 Section 8-2A title win over the Crosby-Ironton Rangers at Concordia College.

"Ice water in the veins," said Bormann. "That wasn't an easy play. It was in traffic. It wasn't uncontested by any means. We're a team that pushes the basketball. We had to stay true to who we are and that's what we did. There was no way I was going to call timeout in that situation.

"Credit C-I. That is an outstanding program. There are very few coaches who I have as much respect for as coach Galovich. He is outstanding. To be able to come back against a team that doesn't make that many mistakes - credit our kids. We had to earn it. We went out and won it on a play tonight. They didn't lose it. That was a heck of a basketball game."

Hegge finished with six points, but none bigger than the final two that were made necessary by C-I's Brady Tesdahl. The senior point guard, drained a 3-pointer from his favorite spot on the floor at the top of the key. It was Tesdahl's only field goal of the second half and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

The biggest shot of Tesdahl's career was short lived as Breckenridge quickly inbounded the pass. Got it to half court where Hegge was waiting. Hegge then drove down and across the lane and hit the left-handed layin.

"I thought the ball was still in his hands when the light went on, but that's probably just wishful thinking," said Ranger head coach Dave Galovich. "I know at the state tournament you can review it and I thought, because there was a television station there tonight, that they could review it. I asked them if they could review it and they said no."

The buzzer beater highlighted a back-and-forth affair that saw four lead changes and four ties in the second half alone.

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C-I opened the second half by erasing a 24-20 halftime deficit and claiming a 27-26 lead. The Cowboys, led by 6-foot-7 senior post Nate Lorenz, used a 6-0 run to build a 32-27 edge. Lorenz finished with a team-high 15 points and 12 rebounds.

"They stepped up their defensive pressure, but you have to be able to execute," said Galovich. "Everytime they got the lead it was often times after empty possessions on our part on offense. Not getting a shot at the basket and then maybe leading to a transition basket for them. Again, I thought our effort was very good, but our execution wasn't what it needed to be to get it done tonight."

Enter C-I's Evan Edmundson. The sophomore went unconscious from 3-point throwing up bombs and blowing away any Breckenridge lead. Edmundson hit three 3-pointers in the second half and finished with a game-high 18 points. His final 3 cut into Breckenridge's 47-39 lead, created by an 8-0 run. Jack Silgen hit a lay in to make it 47-44 with less than a minute left.

After two missed Breckenridge free throws, C-I tried to set up Edmundson for another 3. The sophomore got a shot, but missed. Ben Jordan collected the rebound. Found Tesdahl, who nailed his attempt.

"What can you say about that young man (Edmundson)," said Bormann. "He stepped up big. We really wanted to limit his touches and force him inside the arc. But then you have to rebound the basketball. We've been a fairly good rebounding team all year long so to give up a long rebound late was tough and those are usually the ones that hurt you. Threes off of offensive rebounds, I don't know how often that happens. Someone should chart it because it's uncanny how often that happens."

After both teams struggled out of the gates, Breckenridge grabbed a 17-9 edge thanks to a 7-0 run highlighted by a Lorenz 3-pointer. Enter Edmundson, again, who drained three straight 3s for the Rangers to cut the lead to 21-18. Breckenridge, which had eight different players score in the opening frame, then rattled off the half's last three points for a 24-20 halftime lead.

C-I shot just 6-of-23 in the first half and committed seven turnovers. The Rangers also forced seven turnovers and hit 5-of-7 free throws to go with Edmundson's nine first-half points.

"This team has been pretty resilient all season," said Galovich. "We talk about there being an awful lot of possessions during a game. There are going to be highs and lows in every game. It's never going to be perfect and you have to have the ability to fight through things when things aren't going well. Eventually you have to make plays and Evan came off the bench and gave us a big lift. He knocked down some big 3s, which he is more than capable of doing."

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Lorenz led the Cowboys' first half offense with seven points. Breckenridge shot 9-of-16 from the field, but just 1-of-3 from 3-point. A far cry from 12-of-18 from 3 against Hawley Tuesday at Concordia.

C-I's Daniel Hudrlik finished with 12 points and six rebounds before fouling out with 5:06 in the game. The senior post scored eight of his points in the second half.

"You look at the two seniors we lose, Daniel's production over the five seasons he's been here ranks right up there with the best C-I has ever had. And as far as Brady - we've had some good leaders. I would put Brady up there right at the very top as far as leaders are concerned. It's invaluable. You can't measure his contributions because leadership is something every coach dreams of and I had the best leader I could have ever have in Brady."

Breckenridge 24 25 - 49

Crosby-Ironton 20 27 - 47

BRECKENRIDGE

Nate Blaufuss 5, Tucker Krueger 4, Hunter Aigner 2, Ashton Hegge 6, Stevin Lipp 4, Zarek Reiff 11, Nate Lorenz 15, Eric Conzemius 2. FG 20-37 (54 percent), FT 6-15 (40 percent). 3-point 1-4 (25 percent).

CROSBY-IRONTON

Jack Silgen 4, Evan Edmundson 18, Brady Tesdahl 6, Ben Jordan 2, Noah Gindorff 5, Daniel Hudrlik 12. FG 17-50 (34 percent), FT 5-10 (50 percent). 3-point 7-24 (29 percent).

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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