Bombers snatch wild win over C-W
March 17, 2023
A 3-point shot with just over 4 seconds remaining and stout defensive play were enough to give Barnum a wild 55-52 win over Cromwell-Wright in the Section 5A quarterfinals in Hinckley-Finlayson Monday night.
The Bombers came in as the No. 1 seed in the east side of the section and the Cards were the No. 4 eastern seed. Barnum was attempting to win for the third time this season over their Polar League rival. While they did get the win, it did not come easy as the pesky Cardinals gave the Bombers everything they could handle and more.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game, because they have great kids and the coaches over there do such a great job," said Barnum head coach Rich Newman.
Barnum led 29-26 at halftime, but the Cards came out flying to start the second half and managed to go up 34-29. That's when the second half got interesting.
"Basically our guys came out at the start of the half and started making their shots," said Cards head coach Bill Pocernich. "It was just a well-played game and both teams played hard. It was the kind of game you really didn't want to see either team lose."
The quick start by Cromwell-Wright had the Bombers searching for answers in the first few minutes of the second quarter.
"We had the lead at half and then they got us down by five points right away to start the second half," Newman said. "They mixed things up on defense and we struggled with that at times. They played a great game, but my guys hung in there and were mentally tough even though we were down in that second half."
Each team heated up from the 3-point line and each team made defensive plays.
That meant everything was going to go down to the wire.
First, the Cardinals Dylan Nyberg gave his team hope when he drilled a long 3-pointer that tied the game at 52-52 with 20 seconds remaining.
"Dylan was a good 3 or 4 feet beyond the arc and had a guy on him, but he just made a big shot for us at that point in the game," Pocernich said.
The Bombers called time out. Then Carlos Beckstrand brought the ball up court and calmly looked to feed an open player. He finally found Hayden Charboneau open for almost an equally long 3-point shot that pushed Barnum up 55-52 with 4.2 seconds remaining.
"It was a busted play on our part and Cromwell defended the play well," Newman said. "We were trying to run a double screen for Beckstrand, but the guys ran it on the wrong side of the floor and Carlos was able to roll out of there and found Charboneau who made a good shot."
For their part, the Cards had an inkling of the Barnum game plan. Despite defending the initial play, the Bombers were able to get the basket.
"Give them credit - their guys were able to improvise and make a play when they needed to," Pocernich said.
Trailing 55-52 and just 4.2 seconds remaining Pocernich called a time out and set a play for his offense to get the ball over half court with minimal time used. They succeeded and even managed to call a timeout with 3.2 seconds left.
"We wanted to run Nyberg off a triple screen and have the guys who screened open up to the ball," said Pocernich. "We were not in a good position because they still had a foul to give and they were able to get a hand on (the shot) and we just fell short."
Both teams found themselves in a bit of foul trouble as Nyberg of Cromwell-Wright and Beckstrom of Barnum were playing with four fouls each for much of the second half. The Cards found themselves even more hamstrung at the end of the game when Noah Foster picked up his fourth foul and a few minutes later Barnum was in the double bonus at the free throw line.
The game featured 18 3-point shots with 10 coming from the Bombers and eight from the Cardinals.
For the game, Layne Wickstrom of Barnum and Cromwell's Nyberg were the leading scorers with 18 points apiece.
"I thought Layne had a real good game for us," said Newman. "He scored for us, he rebounded and he played well on defense."
The Cardinals' Brady Dahl scored numerous baskets while slashing to the hoop and finished with 15 points. Foster scored nine, while Tanner Collman and Liam Schoenberg had four each and Tate Blomquist made three.
For Barnum, Charboneau finished with 12 points, Beckstrand with 10, Brady Coughlin nine and Bryce Ferguson recorded six points.
The win improved the Bombers record to 16-12 while the Cards finished the season with a record of 13-14.
The loss on Monday was the final game of the high school career for Noah Foster, Liam Schoenberg and Tate Blomquist.
Barnum returned to Hinckley-Finlayson High School Wednesday and defeated Kaleidoscope Charter School 46-39 to advance to the 5A Section championship against Nevis at 7 p.m. March 17 at a to-be-determined site. Read all about it in next week's Pine Knot News.