Shakopee at Holy Angels Crazy Ending

Game #105 of the season takes me to Holy Angels for a big Missota Conference matchup between #8 4A Shakopee and #10 3A Holy Angels. Both teams came in tied at the top of the league with 2 losses each with the other 2 teams (Prior Lake and New Prague) also playing each other tonight. The 2 things I'm watching in this game are how Shakopee deals with the size of James Pfitzinger and Bonzi Wells (Sahr Ngekia). The other is the defense of Luke Sames (pictured) vs the offense of Stoddard Barnhill.

Matt Zager gets off to a quick start as he has 8 quick points to give Shakopee a 13-6 lead at 13:20. He gets points 9 and 10 on a pretty backdoor layup to make it 17-8 with 12 to go in the half. After a AHA timeout with 8:49 left (22-12 Shako), AHA finally starts pounding the ball inside. Big James gets a 3 pt play, Bonzi gets a deuce but misses the FT and Pfitzinger gets another 2 to make it 26-21 at 7:10. But Shakopee comes back with a 13-2 run to make it 39-23 at 3:30 before Pfitzinger gets another bucket. Shakopee plays sloppy the rest of half and coach Kugath is imploring his team to focus. They lead 43-33 at the break. Zager with 14 for the Sabers. Big James with 12 for the Stars. Barnhill gets his only 2 of the half on a runout that gets goaltended.

AHA starts the 2nd half with momentum as Barnhill is heating up. After a big James bucket, Barnhill gets a steal and 2, then an offensive rebound for 2 and finally scores directly vs Sames and its 49-45 with 13:20 to play. Zager has all 6 Sabers points in the half. AHA is now trying to force the ball inside that isn't working. Shakopee pushes the lead to 57-47 before a Joe St. Mane (he of no mane I might add as he has a shaved head) steal for a 3 pt play makes it 57-50 with 6:24 to play. Pfitzinger gets a block, but throws the ball right to DJ Killeen who scores over big James. He also misses the front end of the bonus. Will Baregi hits 2 FTs to make it 59-52 Shakopee with 4:42 to play. Jake Ewing gets a nice backdoor layup from Sames to make it 61-51 with 4:15 to go and then Ricky Margarit misses a front end at 4:10. Barnhill gets another steal but walks and Ewing hits 2 FTs to make it 63-54 with 3:14 left. Will Baregi scores again before Shakopee runs clock vs the AHA 1-3-1 and gets a DJ Killeen bucket at 2:07 to keep the lead at 9, 65-56. Barnhill misses but he gets a steal and 2 FTs at 1:51. Shakopee tries to run more clock but they turn it over at 1:16. Baregi makes 1 of 2 FTs and then Tyler Bredow gets a steal and bucket to make it 65-61 with 55 seconds left. Killeen misses a front end with 53 to go and Barnhill comes right back and scores to make it a 2 point game with 44.2 to to play. 7 in a row for AHA over the last 1:23. Luke Sames comes up clutch by making both ends of a 1 and 1 with 34.6 left. Baregi scores off an offensive rebound and its 67-65 with 16.7 to play.

Ewing only makes 1 of 2 with 13.9 to go (68-65 Shakopee) and back comes AHA, no timeout. Joe St. Mane drives right baseline and for some reason Sames leaves Barnhill wide open standing just to the right of the top of the key. He knocks down the 3 to tie the game with 5 seconds left and overtime is imminent. Shakopee inbounds with no timeout and Barnhill deliberately fouls Ewing with 1.5 to go right in front of the AHA bench which is away from the Shakopee basket. The building is absolutely stunned. He didn't realize they no longer had to foul. Ewing knocks down the 2 FTs. Baregi gets a catch at half court and gets an OK look from about 30 feet that is short. Shakopee wins 70-68.

Its not all that often that I can say I've never seen something before, but this is one of those instances. Have to feel for Barnhill. He leads AHA with 17, but not even half of those came against Sames who did another terrific defensive job on a star guard. Big James with 16 but a quiet 2nd half. Will Baregi steps up big in the 2nd half to finish with 15. Matt Zager leads the Sabers with 22. Ewing with 14. Shakopee did a nice job packing it in to limit inside touches and they worked hard to not get hammered on the offensive glass. On offense, their entry into their motion is really nice in that it gives them 2 or 3 opportunities for backcuts or easy layups. Its also different in that they run 2 guys to the ballside block. A post and then on the entry pass to the wing, the PG runs to the ballside block. Those guys then set a double screen on ball-reversal or if the ball-reversal isn't there, backdoor options are available. Simple and effective.

Luke Sames photo courtesy of MNPhotoNet.net

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