Orono Spartans 67 St. Cloud Apollo Eagles 62 (OT)
It was 2 games. 2 perfect storms, really. St. Cloud Apollo played a nearly perfect game through the 14 minute mark of the 2nd half, and led 43-28 at that point. They especially threw the extra pass, repeatedly getting the ball inside to big guys Simon Krych and Blake Maslonkowski, who had 12 and 10 points respectively at that point on combined 11-of-18 shooting.
Then it all went south as Orono’s perfect storm swept the Eagles out to sea. The Spartans scored on 15-of-their-next-19 possessions, then later yet took their first lead of the night at 51-49 at about the 6 minute mark. They led by as many as 3 at 57-54 at 1:06, but Ibrahim Abukar made 4-of-4 FT inside of 1 minute for the Eagles to force OT.
In OT, Apollo had the lead 62-60 and the ball when Masklonkowski got blocked by Orono's Jeremy Borg. It was the 6-6 Borg's 6th block of the night. Then on the ensuing fast break, Jordan Smith swooped in to grab a missed lay-up by Brady Wohler and put it back in to tie it up.On the very next possession, Wohler missed another lay-up but Smith did the very same thing, grabbing the offensive board and this time drawing the foul. A 77 percent FT shooter, Smith was not about to miss these 2 chances, nor 2 more inside the final minute.
Smith finished with 29 points on 11-of-23 shooting to lead all scorers, and added 4 steals. Borg added 12 for Orono, plus a team-high 8 boards, plus 3 assists to go along with those 6 blocks. Daniel Drew came off the bench to play 22 terrific minutes, contributing 12 points, 4 assists and 3 steals.
Orono shot 55 percent in the 2nd half and outscored Apollo 39-19 after trailing 43-28. Apollo shot an even better 56 percent from the field in the 2nd half but 11 turnovers and mediocre foul shooting caused them to lose their lead anyway.
The biggest number of all was 14, and that's the number of FT missed by Apollo. They made just 1-of-5 in the 1st half, 1-for-5 again during Orono's big rally, 6-of-8 while rallying themselves to force OT, then 0-for-4 in the extra period. Overall they made a miserable 8-of-22 (36 percent).
Krych and Maslonkowski dominated inside with 31 points, on 8-of-14 shooting in the 1st half and a not quite as dominant 7-of-18 in the 2nd. Krych added 14 rebounds. Ibrahim Abukar added 16, 12 of them coming in the 2nd half, and Derek Steve added 10.
Trench Player: Jordan Smith