The fourth seeded Arrows (19-8) went over the top with the Chargeurs fifth place (18-9) for a chance to keep their season alive. With less than five seconds left in the game, down two, the Chargers sent Johnson on the free-throw line to try to seal the biggest win of his career.
“I knew I had to make them for these guys,” said Johnson. “I thought to myself, being the only older person, it’s entirely appropriate for me to extend my career in high school.”
Noah Johnson lost his three-point shot in Ashby’s 49-45 victory over Brandon-Evansville in the 6A-South quarterfinal match on Thursday evening. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Ashby walked away with a 49-45 victory after Johnson hit the two free throws. However, it was a long way for the Arrows to reach this position. At the end of the first half, the Chargers had a 13-point lead.
“I thought our energy and efforts in the first half were better than theirs, and their energy and efforts in the second half were better than ours,” said head coach B-E Trent Hintermeister. “I thought our guys were patient with the ball in the first half. I think that’s why we took a 16-point lead.”
Kobe Reiland was a force on both sides of the ball for the Chargers in the first half. Not only did he have eight points ahead of the team in the first 18 minutes, but Hintermeister challenged him to keep one of the best players in the section at Jaden Norby. He limited his success to a single point in the first half.
“He was great tonight and he looked comfortable,” said Hintermeister. “We told him all year that we would like to look at the statistics sheet and see that he has had two-digit shooting attempts. He is clever with a good size and he knows how to use that size. not arrest Jaden Norby. There’s nothing like it. You can’t try to contain it. We entrusted this task to Kobe tonight, and he did a fantastic job. ”
Kobe Reiland (4) hit a three point in the first half when Ashby’s 49-45 victory over Brandon-Evansville in the Section 6A-South quarterfinal match Thursday night. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
The Chargers held a double-digit lead until Jacob Cook of Ashby scored six points to reduce the lead to nine with 14 minutes remaining. Jaden Norby followed Cook’s breakout with a layup before hunter Norby emptied a three-point pointer. The Arrows allowed the home crowd to return to the game after 33-29.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half, and they were. It was kind of a throw-in in the second half,” said Ashby head coach John Holtsen. We got a little harder on the defensive. We started to make it a little harder for them to find ways to get past them by getting their hands on them. We gave up, just like they did. ”
The Arrows took their first lead of the game when Torin Olson found Ashton Ecker on a quick break. Olson and Ecker After Reiland tied the game with a three-point pointer, Ecker came back on the field and hit three of his own goals to bring the score up to 41-38.
“Removing these points from the bench reduces the pressure on our newbies,” said Johnson. “Even if these guys don’t score a ton of points on the bench, they do things that sometimes don’t show up in the statistics. They play big minutes.”
Marshall Riedel (left) Noah Johnson (middle) and Tanner Bitzan chase after a loose ball in Ashby’s 49-45 victory over Brandon-Evansville in the Section 6A-South quarterfinal Thursday night. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Ashby led 43-41 when Tanner Bitzan launched a three-point hoop. Jacob Cook caught a transition pass and scored to give the Arrows their first two possession lead since the first half.
The Chargers recovered a point on a free throw but had to foul for a chance to win the game. Before Johnson made his two free throws, Jaden Norby went to the 45-42 line and hit the two to make it a five-point game.
“One of them is a senior and the other is a junior captain, and that’s why they’re here,” said Holsten. “They have to make these free throws. Both of them intensified and made games. They did what should be done. This is what the leaders are doing.”
After Johnson froze the game on the charity strip, he stole the incoming pass and dribbled the clock. In the last four seconds of his last game at Ashby Public School, he had the ball in his hands.
“I saw this ball coming towards me, and I knew if I caught this thing, it was done, and we are going to Morris,” said Johnson. “I needed this. I’ve been playing in college since my first year, and we didn’t get to Morris. It’s special, and I wouldn’t want to do it with another team.”
Jacob Cooks hands the ball to a teammate in Ashby’s 49-45 victory over Brandon-Evansville in the 6A-South section quarter-final on Thursday evening. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Thursday evening, the center-west zone (25-2), seeded, beat Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunberg 89-53. The Knights and the Arrows will meet Saturday afternoon at the University of Minnesota-Morris.
“To me, they have no apparent weakness,” said Holsten. “They can get you in, they can turn off the lights, keep like crazy, manipulate the ball and they’re athletic like hell. We’re going to have to play our best game of the year by far.”
Brandon-Evansville’s season ended on a sour note, but they will not forget how much they had to overcome to be the fifth seeded in the subsection. Sam Fuller has missed the entire season with a knee injury and Jessey Perleberg has missed half of the games with a health problem.
“These are two starters, and it’s hard to overcome and win 18 games,” said Hintermeister. “I don’t care if it sounds like an excuse; it’s the truth. Winning 18 games is always a big accomplishment, and I’m so proud of these kids. I love these seniors so much and I’m a better person because that I have to train these seniors. The things they do in practice and in class say more than at the basketball court. ”