MINNEAPOLIS — St. Cloud Cathedral forward Mitchell Plombon mistimed his jump on Wednesday, March 21, at the end of the second overtime of a Class AA state quarterfinal, so all he could do was watch helplessly as the ball went over his outstretched hands and into those of 7-foot-3 Esko senior center Adam Trapp.
"That was scary," Plombon said. "I was going up to get the rebound and just kept jumping, and he caught me when I was on my way down, and I just remember looking, 'Please don't go in, please don't go in.' Thank God, it didn't go in."
Trapp's missed tap-in at the buzzer helped Cathedral live to fight a third overtime, and this time the Crusaders pulled away for a 64-60 victory at Target Center.
Fifth-seeded St. Cloud Cathedral (26-5) advanced to play top-seeded Minnehaha Academy (26-4) in the Class AA semifinals Friday, March 23, at the Target Center.
Fourth-seeded Esko (26-5) played unseeded Jordan (25-6) on Thursday, March 22, at Concordia-St. Paul in the consolation semifinals.
"I think we had a opportunities at the end of regulation and two of the overtimes to win," Esko coach Mike Devney said. "They hit some long, long 3s to get back into the game after we were up 10. A couple tough calls down the stretch, but that's the way it goes at the state tournament. It was a physical game."
After Ryan Pantsar hit a 3-pointer to put Esko up 58-55 late in the second overtime, Jackson Jangula followed with a 3-pointer from beyond NBA range with a minute left, setting up Trapp's near miss of a rebound putback, forcing a third extra session.
"I'm really proud of the kids and how hard they played," Devney said. "They played their absolute hardest. It's a tough, tough loss, because we beat them earlier in the year, and we probably should have beaten them again."
Quinn Fischer tied for a game-high 18 points to lead Esko before fouling out while going for a loose ball in the third overtime. His presence all over the court was missed as Cathedral took control.
"Definitely a tough way to go out," Fischer said. "That last play, I was just playing the ball, but I'm sure the ref saw a different perspective; everyone sees it differently. That was just tough to watch the end of that game, really wanting to be out there."
Trapp and junior guard Camden Berger added 16 points for Esko.
"We only had six turnovers in a game that's the length of an NBA game, 48 minutes, so to only have six turnovers is tremendous," Devney said.
The difference was 3-point shooting, where Cathedral was 10-for-27, and Esko was only 2-for-15.
Trapp also had 14 rebounds, five blocks and countless altered shots.
Devney, who won his 500th career game in the Section 7AA final, was asked where this game ranked in his long tenure.
"It's a classic, no doubt about that," said Devney, who is coaching his final season at Esko. "Every time we play them it's been fun and intense, but this one hurts the most."
Besides the miss in double overtime, Trapp also missed a circus attempt at the end of the first overtime that could have won it, even if it was nothing more than a desperation attempt that was pure effort (it wasn't even officially ruled a shot).
Like Fischer, Trapp's perspective and maturity are beyond his years, a product of a Devney-coached team that Cathedral called as classy as it gets.
"I just tried to do whatever I could," Trapp said. "I missed that easy tip-in at the end of the second overtime, and that's something I'll probably look back on again and again, but it doesn't come down to one shot, really, if you look at it through the whole game. A missed shot here, a missed shot there, everyone has a little input in a loss, everyone has a little input in a win. You win as a team and lose as a team, but it was a tough shot to miss in a situation like that, but it didn't just fall this time."
St. Cloud Cathedral 20-23-9-6-6—64
St. Cloud Cathedral — Jackson Jangula 14, Nick Schaefer 18, Mitchell Plombon 14, Michael Schaefer 12, Jacob Stolzenberg 6. Totals 22 10-14 64.
3-point goals — Jangula 3, N. Schaefer 3, Plombon, M. Schaefer, Stolzenberg 2.
Esko — Quinn Fischer 18, Ryan Pantsar 3, Trevor Spindler 5, Camden Berger 16, Adam Trapp 16, Payton Wefel 2. Totals 24 10-13 60.
3-point goals — Pantsar, Spindler.
Consolation semifinal: Esko 62, Jordan 59
Berger's layup with 20 seconds play broke a tie game and spurred Esko to a 62-59 victory over Jordan in a Class AA high school boys basketball consolation semifinal Thursday, March 22, at Concordia-St. Paul.
Esko (27-5) trailed 51-41 midway through the second half but went on an 8-0 run aided by two 3-pointers from Spindler and then closed the game on a 11-2 spurt.
Senior center Adam Trapp made three layups down the stretch en route to a game-high 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting.
The Eskomos, who play Breckenridge (26-6) for fifth place at 2 p.m. today, shot 22-for-35 from inside 3-point range.
Fischer and Berger each scored 13 and Spindler had 11 with three of Esko's four 3-pointers.
Consolation final: Esko 57, Breckenridge 46
Esko closed its Devney era with a 57-46 victory over Breckenridge on Friday, March 23, at Gangelhoff Center on the campus of Concordia-St. Paul.
The win, the 502nd in Devney's high school boys basketball coaching career, gave the Eskomos (28-5) fifth place in the Class AA state tournament. Devney's yearly contract was not renewed after 19 seasons with the school.
Fischer paced Esko with 15 points and Pantsar added 14, hitting all eight of his free-throw attempts. Reserve Peyton Wefel nailed three 3-pointers as Esko compensated for 7-foot-3 senior center Adam Trapp scoring just four points on 1-for-5 shooting.
Derek Dahlgren scored 18 points and made four 3-pointers to lead the Cowboys (27-6), who held a six-point first-half lead before Esko closed the half on a 7-1 run to take a 23-21 advantage.