Plainview-Elgin-Millville drops heartbreaker in Class AA state quarterfinals
No. 3 seed P-E-M suffered a 63-61 loss to unseeded Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in the Class AA state quarterfinals. The Bulldogs will play in the consolation semifinals at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
MINNEAPOLIS — This time there was no late-game magic.
In the Section 1AA championship game, Plainview-Elgin-Millville received a game-winning shot at the buzzer from senior Kaiden Peters.
But the Bulldogs didn't have the same fortune in the Class AA state quarterfinals on Tuesday as the No. 3 seed suffered a heartbreaking 63-61 loss to unseeded Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.
“That’s as tough as they come to lose a game like that,” P-E-M coach Jason Herber said.
The game was tight the entire second half and decided in the closing seconds.
Peters got a measure of revenge for missing two free throws with 37 seconds left and P-E-M down one. The guard then had a steal and fed Aeron Stevens, who hit a driving bucket to put the Bulldogs up 60-59 with 21 seconds to play.
Owen Leach, a 6-foot-6 guard who led D-G-F with 28 points, was fouled with 8.8 seconds and he made two free throws to but the Rebels up 61-60.
After P-E-M turned the ball over, Drew Sheeley made two free throws to give the Rebels a 63-60 lead with 4.4 seconds left.
Nick Wozney made a free throw for P-E-M with 3.4 seconds left to make the score 63-61. The Bulldogs had a chance to win when Thomas Rehder missed two free throws with 2.2 seconds left but Stevens' desperation heave from halfcourt at the buzzer was well off the mark.
“It was just composing ourselves at the end and making our free throws,” D-G-F coach Mike Clark said.
Free throws were a big factor in the game.
P-E-M was just 13-for-23 at the line while the Rebels (25-6) were 16-for-22.
“We struggled from the line and that’s kind of been biting us in the tail all year long, our free-throw shooting,” Herber said. “We missed some big ones to either get the lead or either get the lead more spread out. It just wasn’t meant to be for us.”
The Rebels also played tough defense on Stevens. The 6-7 forward, headed to play college ball at Southwest Minnesota State University, had 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals. But he was held to nine points under his season scoring average.
“He made some really smart passes, he’s just a really good basketball player,” Leach said of Stevens. “We just got the best of him tonight.”
Leach, who will play college ball at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and the rest of the Rebels tried to play physical in the contest, which had a total of 44 fouls called, 22 on each team.
“We don’t want to give them free touches,” Clark said. “We want to make those entry passes as hard as possible and I think we really worked hard on that again tonight.”
The Rebels also gave Peters plenty of attention. He still responded with a team-high 16 points. Liam Powers hit three 3-pointers off the bench for nine points while Brady Herber added eight points for the Bulldogs.
“They were physical with him (Stevens) and pretty much kept a guy floating in the lane the whole time to take Aeron’s gaps away,” coach Herber said. “We just had a hard time getting him in good scoring positions. We had others step up the whole game and make some big shots.”
P-E-M led by seven points in the first half, but the Bulldogs could never build a lead of more than a possession or two in the second half. D-G-F's biggest lead was three points.
“We just couldn’t get a big stop,” Herber said. “I tip my hat to D-G-F on that. They made big shot after big shot, big play after big play. They kept their cool, kept their composure and kept fighting no matter how big a lead we got.”
The Bullodgs (26-5) will face Pequot Lakes in the consolation semifinals at 8 p.m. Wednesday as Concordia College, St. Paul.
Despite the tough loss, Herber is hoping his team can bounce back and win a consolation trophy.
“It’s a special group, especially since my son is one of them,” Herber said. “That means I know all the other nine (seniors) because they’re friends with Brady since they were in kindergarten, first grade.”
Dilworth-Glydon-Felton 63, Plainview-Elgin-Millville 61
Karson Stiechen 5 P, 1 3-PT; Drew Sheeley 10 P, 1 3-PT; Owen Leach 28 P, 10 R, 4 3-PT; Austin Anderson 4 P; Grant Anderson 5 P; Brody Friend 3 P, 1 3-PT; Peyton Aas 2 P; Caysn Bergee 6 P, 2 3-PT.
No. 3 PLAINVIEW-ELGIN-MILLVILLE (61)
Brady Herber 8 P, 4 R; Aeron Stevens 14 P, 5 R, 5 A, 5 S, 1 3-PT; Nick Wozney 4 P, 3 R, 1 3-PT; Chase Fogelson 2 P; Kaiden Peters 16 P, 4 A; Jameson Brinkman 4 P; Liam Powers 9 P, 3 3-PT; Parker Matti 4 P.
Halftime: PEM 25, DGF 24.
Free throws: DGF 16-22, PEM 13-23.
Three-point goals: DGF 9-14, PEM 8-21. Field goals: DFG 19-39, PEM 20-43.
Rebounds: DGF 23, PEM 23. Turnovers: DGF 17, PEM 10.