FERTILE-BELTRAMI BEATS WCA IN 3OT TO ADVANCE TO STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

The Fertile-Beltrami Falcon Boys Basketball team outlasted the West Central Area Knights 84-75 in triple overtime in the Minnesota Class A State Boys Basketball tournament semi-finals at Williams Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota and will advance to the State Class A Championship.

FIRST HALF –
Fertile-Beltrami got off to a good start with Preston Hanson, who hit a two and a three to give the Falcons an early 5-3 lead a few minutes into the game. Masen Nowacki drilled a straightaway three to make it 8-5, with Fertile-Beltrami leading. West Central Area would go on a 7-0 run to take a 12-8 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the first half. The defenses picked up for both sides before Caiden Swenby knocked down a triple to make it 12-11 with West Central Area still in the lead. Swenby then hit a corner jumper from just inside the arc to give Fertile-Beltrami a 13-12 lead halfway through the first half. Swenby would get two more baskets inside for Fertile-Beltrami to give the Falcons a 17-14 lead and force West Central Area to call a timeout. The teams traded baskets, but again, the defenses picked up for both sides later in the half. Then, Derek Sorenson hit a short-range shot for the Falcons to give them a 21-16 lead. Later, Bryer Strem stole the ball, drove down the floor, whipped a pass over to Swenby, who finished the break with a layup and gave the Falcons a five-point lead again with two and a half minutes left. Caleb Stoltman drained a three from the wing after Sorenson crashed the glass to grab an offensive board. Fertile-Beltrami would take a 26-20 lead into the halftime break. 

SECOND HALF –
Both defenses got a great start before West Central Area got a 
lay-in for the half’s first basket. Swenby connected on a step-back three to give Fertile-Beltrami a 29-22 lead. Then Hanson hit a three from the corner to give the Falcons a 32-24 lead just a few minutes into the second half. West Central Area would use a small run to cut the lead down to three, but Swenby drained a three from the wing to make it 37-31 with Fertile-Beltrami leading. The defenses again picked up their intensity as neither team scored for three minutes. West Central Area got two quick baskets as their full-court press caused a couple of turnovers before Swenby hit a two for the Falcons to put them back up 39-38 with just under six minutes to go. Swenby, at the top of the key, delivered a perfect pass to Stoltman, who cut to the basket and got a reverse layup to fall and make it 41-40. West Central Area would get a basket to go up 42-41 before Swenby was called for an offensive foul and fouled out of the game with two and a half minutes left. Stoltman drilled a three to give the Falcons the lead. West Central Area answered with a basket before Hanson drained another three to give the Falcons a one-point lead with just under two minutes to go. After a turnover, Fertile-Beltrami got the ball back, and Hanson was fouled down low and hit both free throws to give Fertile-Beltrami a 49-46 lead with a little over a minute to go. West Central Area answered with a basket to cut it to a one-point game. After the Falcons turned it over, trying to bring the ball up the floor, the Falcons forced a turnover with under 30 seconds left. Derek Sorenson got fouled, headed to the free throw line with 16.1 seconds left, and knocked down both free throws to give the Falcons a 51-48 lead. West Central Area banked a long three at the buzzer to tie the game at 51 and head into overtime. 

OVERTIME-
Bryer Strem got his first basket of the ballgame on the first possession of overtime to give the Falcons the lead. West Central Area answered with two of their own before Nowacki knocked down a three to give the Falcons a 56-53 lead a minute into overtime. West Central Area got a basket on the other end but still trailed by one. Hanson was fouled on a missed shot by the Falcons and headed to the free-throw line, where he made one of his two foul shots. West Central Area knocked down a three to go up 58-57. Both teams traded missed shots as West Central Area was fouled with under 30 seconds left and hit both free throws to go up 60-57. After a timeout with 12 seconds left, the Falcons inbounded the ball to Sorenson, who lost it; Stoltman picked it up and handed it off to Nowacki, who sunk a right-wing three to tie it at 60. West Central Area got a shot off at the buzzer, but it didn’t fall this time as the teams headed to double overtime. 

DOUBLE OVERTIME-
Fertile-Beltrami got a short-range shot to fall from Sorenson and go up 62-60. West Central Area got a basket after both teams missed a field goal as they were tied at 62 with two and a half minutes left in double overtime. Nowacki knocked down one of two free throws before West Central Area took the lead with a three halfway through the second overtime period. The Falcons answered with Hanson down low as he banked it in to tie the game at 65. West Central Area retook the lead with a layup, and then the Falcons got the ball to Hanson, who drove and was fouled. He headed to the line and sunk two free throws to tie the game at 67. West Central Area drove down and missed a shot, with the Falcons collecting the rebound. After a timeout, the Falcons got a shot off but it didn’t hit the rim as the Falcons were called for a shot clock violation. West Central Area tried a halfcourt heave at the buzzer, which went down and out as the teams headed to triple overtime. 

TRIPLE OVERTIME-
Derek Sorenson started triple overtime with a three to give the Falcons a 70-67 lead. Fertile-Beltrami was able to get a stop before Hanson drove to the basket, got it to fall, and was fouled. Hanson hit the free throw to go up 73-67. West Central Area got a short shot underneath before Fertile-Beltrami got a basket from Stoltman to go up 77-69. West Central Area hit two free throws to make it 75-71 halfway through triple overtime. Sorenson was fouled with just over a minute to go as he knocked down two free throws to go up 77-71. West Central Area couldn’t get a three to fall, and Fertile-Beltrami was fouled before inbounding the ball. Masen Nowacki stepped up to the free-throw line and hit two foul shots to go up 79-71. West Central Area got a basket plus the foul, but they couldn’t get the free throw to fall. Fertile-Beltrami was fouled as Sorenson hit two free throws to go up 81-73. West Central Area got a quick layup with 36 seconds left. Stoltman was fouled and went to the free throw line, where he drained two free throws to go up 83-75. Stoltman hit a free throw late as the Falcons won the marathon, 84-75, to advance to the State Championship Game. 

Fertile-Beltrami improves to 27-6 on the year and will take on Cherry in the Class A State Championship Game on Saturday on KROX with the RiverView Health pre-game show at 10:30 a.m. and the tip at 11 a.m.
West Central Area will face Nevis in the third-place game tomorrow morning. 

Click here for Coach Steffes’s post-game interview.

Click here for Derek Sorenson’s post-game interview.

Click here for Masen Nowacki’s post-game interview. 

Click here for Caleb Stoltman’s post-game interview. 

 
1st 
2nd 
OT|OT2|OT3
Final
Fertile-Beltrami
26
25
9|7|17
84
West Central Area
20
31
9|7|8
75

 

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