Boys basketball: Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa knocks off New York Mills in 6A title game
Jaguars knock beat Eagles 71-65 to win Section 6A title and earn a state berth
FERGUS FALLS — It was a game they had wanted for as long as they could remember and it finally happened for a group that has been close before.
The Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa boys basketball team is back in the state tournament.
For the Jaguars, who were last at state in 2014, it seems like an eternity.
"Amazing," BBE senior guard Will Van Beck said. "It's the best feeling I've ever had."
BBE beat New York Mills 71-65 to win the Section 6A championship Friday night.
It was done before a standing-room-only crowd at Fergus Falls' Kennedy Senior High School. Split evenly between BBE and New York Mills fans, the atmosphere was electric.
"We've had a lot of adversity we've had to overcome," said BBE senior forward Gavin Kampsen, who has his own to deal with, overcoming an ACL injury two years ago, making him one of two Jaguars with a bad knee. "It's great."
The Jaguars did it by getting a big night from their big two of Kaden Pieper and Ashton Dingmann and then getting a critical performance off the bench from Kampsen, who scored eight points in the second half, all in a gritty, scrappy style that included two hoops inside that resulted in traditional 3-point plays with free throws.
"It was amazing for him and not just for him. It's all these guys," BBE head coach Chris Anderson said. "To do what these guys have done, with all the adversity, and to withstand what these guys withstood in the second half, it's amazing.
"Our guys had resiliency."
After leading 37-36 at halftime, the Jaguars built a 63-49 lead with 4:37 to go. It looked like a victory was a certainty for the 26-4 Jaguars. But, New York Mills demonstrated why it came into the game 28-1 with 11 seniors on its roster.
"There's a lot to be proud of," Eagles head coach Mike Baune said. "These guys just don't quit.
"And BBE — that's an incredible team. Their physicality was so impressive. They really showed a lot."
So did New York Mills, which went on an 11-0 run using some full-court pressure, aggressive defense and some timely shots to get it to 63-60 with 2:09 to play.
But, BBE maintained its composure. The Jaguars ran a play that freed up Dingmann and was set up by a nice pass by Van Beck. That made it BBE 65, New York Mills 60 with 1:03 to play.
Dingmann, another guy with an ACL history, finished with 24 points. Pieper, meanwhile, had 31.
Both were outdone by New York Mills' Tate Olson. The 6-foot-6 senior guard had 38 points.
"Tate Olson is really the heart and soul of our team and a true leader," Baune said.
He's an NSIC (Division II) recruit by multiple schools and has scored 40 before in a game. This night, he was extremely hard to stop. Ask Van Beck, who tried.
"He's crazy," Van Beck said. "He was so good on the drive. He'd be coming in and you'd try to stop him and take a charge and he'd just turn around and spin past you. And what is he? Six-five, six-six? He's a really good player."
The Eagles still weren't done. Van Beck missed a one-and-one free throw with 56.1 seconds left and New York Mills had a couple cracks at a basket, but couldn't get it done.
Van Beck was fouled again and sank two free throws with 46.5 seconds left to put BBE up 67-60. The Eagles muscled their way inside for a quick basket off an offensive rebounds to make 67-62 with 36.2 seconds left.
Dingmann was fouled and made two free throws to make it 69-62 with 21 seconds left.
Olson then got called for an offensive foul, fouling out with 15.4 seconds left.
Dingmann went to the line and made one of two free throws to make it 70-62. Breck Hensch then made a 28-footer to cut the deficit to 70-65 with 6.8 seconds left, but time was obviously running out.
Dingmann again made one of two free throws with 5.8 seconds to go and it was over.
BBE's players celebrated at midcourt while the student section under the basket joined them.
"It was crazy loud in here," Van Beck said. "You couldn't hear anything."
Anderson said he has an on-line meeting in the morning for state seedings. BBE, he believes, deserves a top-five seed.
"If you look at the strength of our schedule, I think we should get one," Anderson said.
The Class A quarterfinals are Wednesday at Williams Arena. The Jaguars are looking forward to it.
"It feels great," Kampsen said. "It feels real good."
BBE 71, New York Mills 65
BBE (26-4) 37 34 — 71
New York Mills (28-2) 36 29 — 65
BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA - Scoring: Kaden Pieper 31, Will Van Beck 2, Ashton Dingmann 24, Luke Dingmann 6, Gavin Kampsen 8 … 3-point shots: Pieper 1, A. Dingmann 4 … Rebound leaders: L. Dingmann 11, A. Dingmann 8 … Assist leader: Van Beck 7 … Steal leader: A. Dingmann 2 ... Block leader: A. Dingmann 2
NEW YORK MILLS - Scoring: Noah Hoffsinger 5, Tate Olson 38, Jack Peters 4, Jonah Johnson 2, Breck Hensch 13, Bryan Bohn 3 … 3-point shots: Hoffsinger 1, Olson 1, Bohn 1, Hensch 3 … Rebound leader: Olson 12, Johnson 7 … Assist leader: Hoffsinger 4 … Steal leaders: Olson 1, Hensch 1 ... Block leader: Olson 3