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home : sports : sports Saturday, April 30, 2016

1/12/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Northeast senior Ben Hildebrandt (second from left, in bear hug) gets swarmed by his teammates after banking in a shot before the buzzer during Tuesday night’s Observer-area tilt between the Rebels and Cal-Wheat. The shot, coming with 0.3 seconds left in the second overtime, gave Northeast a wild 73-72 win. Photos by Ross Eberhart
Cal-Wheat senior Jake Janssen puts up a shot during the first half of the Warriors’ game with Northeast, Tuesday night. Janssen led the Warriors in scoring during the contest, but it was two points that Cal-Wheat feels were missing that might have been the difference in the 73-72 Rebel win.
Hildebrandt's miracle ends crazy Observer-area battle

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

This one had it all.

Dueling runs, fantastic individual performances, clutch shots, not one but two overtimes and even a one-in-a-million buzzer beater.

Yes, Tuesday night's Observer-area battle between the Calamus-Wheatland and Northeast boys basketball teams will be a game that both squads will never forget.

Unfortunately, for two very different reasons.

For the Rebels, nothing will top the game's finish as Ben Hildebrandt forever etched his name in program lore.

Northeast trailed by one with less than a minute remaining in the second overtime between the two teams, but pulled in front when Bo Lingle drove in for two.

The Warriors worked the ball around on their next possession, sending the ball inside before kicking it back out. Eventually, Cal-Wheat center Jake Janssen worked his way into a strong position down low, received a pass and dropped the ball in to put Cal-Wheat in front with 12 seconds remaining.

With no timeouts, the Rebels frantically pushed the ball down the floor, looking for an open shot. The ball ended up in the hands of freshman Will Hasken, who drove to the hoop but missed his shot. The ball bounced out of bounds and time expired.

The referees met at midcourt to discuss things and decided that the ball had gone out of bounds off Cal-Wheat with 0.3 seconds remaining.

Still with no timeouts, Northeast used the referee's conference to draw up a final play.

The ball was inbounded to Hildebrandt who immediately flipped the ball to the hoop. With the buzzer sounding, the ball banked high off the backboard and fell through the hoop for the winner in a wild 73-72 contest.

The Warriors, though, question whether Hildebrandt's heroics should even have taken place as they point out that a pair of Janssen free throws were not put on the scoreboard during the third quarter. Two points that loom large in a game that ultimately reached overtime and was decided by just one point.

The purported scoring error coupled with two other close calls that went Northeast's way (the decision to call the ball out on Cal-Wheat and put time back on the clock at the end, and whether Hildebrandt's shot was released in time) have left a sour taste in a number of Cal-Wheat mouths.

The Warriors were certainly the aggressor throughout the game, especially early as Cal-Wheat reeled off 11 of the contest's first 13 points.

John Diercks kicked off the game's scoring with a three-point basket and Janssen added a hoop inside before Spencer Kerr beat everybody down the floor for a lay-up to make it 7-0 Warriors less than two minutes into the game.

Northeast got its first bucket on a hoop by Damon Diedrich, but Cal-Wheat kept rolling with Austin Bumann scoring on a put-back and Austin Houzenga adding his own hoop to make it 11-2.

The Rebels turned to its three-point shooting to put a dent into the lead as Hildebrandt drained one trey and Matt Lorenzen added one of his own to pull Northeast within three.

The final four points of the quarter, however, were scored by the visitors in navy, as Houzenga received a nice feed inside for a hoop and Janssen added a bucket of his own to make it 15-8 Warriors as the quarter came to a close.

Lingle took over the beginning of the second quarter for the Rebels, scoring the first 11 points of the period for Northeast.

The senior's first hoop opened the period, but Janssen answered with a small hook for the Warriors.

Lingle, though, knocked down three-pointers on consecutive trips down the floor and then followed up a three by Nolan Christensen by burying another one to tie things up at 19-19.

Undaunted, the Warriors pulled right back in front as Janssen was fouled on a basket inside and knocked down the free throw for a three-point play.

Brendon Butler came back with a hoop inside for the Rebels and Hasken answered a Nick Houzenga free throw with two points of his own and the game was tied again, this time at 23-23.

Just as they did the first time, Cal-Wheat broke the tie with three points this time from N. Houzenga, who nailed a trey.

The teams traded points the rest of the first half. Hasken followed Houzenga's three with a free throw, while Christensen hit two of his own.

Lingle pulled Northeast back within two on a lay-up only to see Bumann score the last points of the quarter on a put-back and it was 30-26 Warriors at the half.

The second half opened pretty much like the first with the Warriors exploding out of the gate.

Christensen scored the first points of the third quarter with a drive to the hoop. Lorenzen answered with a three-pointer for Northeast, but Cal-Wheat added hoops by Diercks and Bumann to go up seven.

Lorenzen scored again for the Rebels to end the mini run. The Warriors, though, put together another one as Janssen hit a three-pointer from the wing and Diercks was fouled on a drive to the hoop. The senior added the free throw and it was 42-31.

Lingle pulled Northeast back within nine with a small jumper, but Janssen converted another three-point play for the Warriors.

Janssen added two more free throws, which were the ones believed to be missed by the scorer's table. Those two points would have made it 47-33 Warriors.

Instead, it was 45-33 Cal-Wheat and about to become much closer as the Rebels ended the quarter on a 9-0 run.

Hildebrandt started things off with a free throw and Hasken added two free throws of his own. Eli Kaczinski, meanwhile, went coast-to-coast for a bucket inside and Brendon Butler knocked down a free throw.

Hildebrandt finished off the run he started with a three-pointer with just two seconds remaining in the period and Northeast was within three.

The lead got even more tenuous as Lingle knocked down a jumper from the elbow to start the fourth quarter.

The Warriors, though, broke through their scoreless drought with Kerr draining a three-pointer from the corner. Cal-Wheat added another hoop and the scoreboard read 50-44 Warriors.

The Rebels answered back with their own run. Kaczinski nailed a floater in the lane and Butler made one-of-two free throws before Lingle tied things up with his fourth three-pointer of the game.

The tie did not last long as Janssen put in a hoop for the Warriors, while Christensen grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back for two.

Lingle cut the four-point deficit in half with a bucket and Northeast had a chance to tie things up again after a Warrior miss, but Christensen was able to poke the ball free and take it all the way to the hoop to make it 56-52.

The Rebels turned right back to Lingle, who was fouled on a basket inside. The senior added the free throw as well and Northeast was within one.

Cal-Wheat turned the ball over on their possession, but Lingle missed an attempt to give the Rebels the lead and then compounded things by fouling Christensen.

Christensen made one-of-two to push the lead back to two and then came up with yet another steal to get the ball back and the Rebels were forced to foul.

Cal-Wheat, though, missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Rebels got the ball back. Northeast set up a play and Lingle drove to the basket. The senior forward missed his shot, but the attention drawn to him allowed Nick Wall to crash the boards untouched and the Northeast guard put the ball back into the hoop to tie things at 57-57.

One final Warrior shot missed its mark and the team went into overtime.

Cal-Wheat got on the board first in the extra period with a Christensen free throw, while Hildebrandt knocked down a jumper to give Northeast the lead.

Janssen answered with a hoop in the paint and then the Warrior senior added two free throws as well to put Cal-Wheat up three.

Northeast missed on its next attempt and fouled Cal-Wheat with just under a minute remaining.

The Warriors, though, missed both attempts and to make matters worse, fouled Northeast in the battle for the rebound.

That sent Hasken to the line and the freshman made one-of-two to cut the lead back down to two.

That did not matter to the Warriors, who went right back to Janssen, and the big man came up with another bucket inside to make it 64-60.

Down four, the Rebels needed a quick basket so they turned to Lingle, who drove to the rim and was fouled with 15 seconds left. The senior hit both freebies and the lead was two.

The Warriors had trouble getting the ball in and were forced to call timeout, but were successful on their next try and Northeast was forced to foul again.

Again, though, Cal-Wheat had trouble at the free throw line and two misses with 14.2 seconds gave the Rebels another chance.

Northeast was again without a timeout, so they needed to push ahead after rebounding the second miss.

Hildebrandt dribbled down the floor and spied a wide-open Kaczinski in the corner. Janssen, though, tipped Hildebrandt's pass, in the air, and Kaczinski was forced to leave his spot to quickly grab the loose ball.

With a wide-open three out of the picture, Kaczinski instead worked his way into the lane where he put up a floater that struck iron but eventually fell in and time ran out as Cal-Wheat was inbounding the ball, forcing another overtime.

Working off the momentum of Kaczinski's last-second shot, the Rebels opened the second overtime with four-straight points on hoops by Lingle and Hasken.

Northeast, however, got greedy and failed to take time off the clock after creating their advantage (the Rebels had two different offensive possessions up four that ended in turnovers).

That was fine with Cal-Wheat, who turned right back to Janssen, who scored once inside and then again moments later. The senior was fouled on the shot and had an opportunity to give Cal-Wheat the lead.

The free throw, though, missed its mark and Cal-Wheat fouled Lingle as he grabbed the rebound.

Lingle made one of his two foul shots to put Northeast back up one, but the Warriors came right back as Kerr was left all alone inside. The forward made his lay-in attempt and it was the Warriors in front.

Northeast missed on two different chances to regain the lead before Lingle scored with under a minute remaining to set up the clutch shot by Janssen and Hildebrandt's buzzer beater.

Lingle and Janssen both had huge games with the former scoring 32 points and the latter dropping in 29 (and that is without the missing free throws).

Christensen added 12 points for the Warriors with Hildebrandt pouring in 11 for the Rebels.

In all, 11 different players scored more than five points in the game.

Matt Lorenzen had eight points for the Rebels with Diercks adding eight of his own for the Warriors. Kerr had seven points with Kaczinski and Hasken adding six points apiece for the Rebels and A. Houzenga and Bumann chipping in six for the Warriors.

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