CLARENCE — The comeback seemed to come right from a sports movie.
The Calamus-Wheatland boys basketball team trailed Lone Tree by 12 points with just over two minutes remaining in Thursday’s 1A District 7 quarterfinal.
The Warriors, though, hit a three-pointer. Then were fouled while taking another one. They forced a turnover. They hit another three. They watched as a Lone Tree pass sailed out of bounds. They made their free throws. And finally, after a long pass and lay-up, they had the lead.
There was just one thing the incredible rally was missing.
A happy Hollywood movie ending.
Instead, the Lions cut into the Warriors’ lead with a free throw and then went the length of the court in the final seconds to draw another whistle on a drive. The resulting two free throws with two seconds remaining proved to be the difference in Lone Tree’s wild 73-72 victory.
Down 10 to start the fourth quarter, Cal-Wheat found itself trading points with the Lions rather than reeling them in. Lone Tree pushed its lead to 12 five different times in the final stanza, including a 69-57 advantage with 2:08 to play.
By that time, however, Warriors junior Brady Buchmeyer had heated up. The guard buried a three to make it 69-60 and then was fouled on a subsequent three-point attempt from the corner.
Buchmeyer made all three free throws and it was a six-point game.
Lone Tree’s next trip down the floor ended with a Brian Forret steal and this time it was senior Caleb Banowetz who came up big from deep, knocking down his own three to make it 69-66.
The Lions were unable to secure a pass on its next possession and the Warriors made them pay with Buchmeyer drawing a foul on a drive and making both free throws.
Lone Tree ended an 11-0 Cal-Wheat run with a free throw, but then fouled Buchmeyer again and the Warrior made two more free throws to tie the game at 70.
The Lions had the first opportunity to break the tie, but their shot was off the mark and Banowetz beat everyone down to the other side of the floor for a layup to give Cal-Wheat the lead.
The Lions, though, got a point back on a free throw and then regained possession when the Warriors were unable to corral an offensive rebound.
Forced to go the length of the floor, Lone Tree sped right to the hoop, leading to a collision involving three different players. Cal-Wheat was whistled for a foul and the Lions hit both free throws to take the lead for good.
The Warriors made up an early 9-2 deficit, taking its first lead at 15-13 in the second quarter on a Buchmeyer three-point play.
Cal-Wheat led by as many as six points in the second stanza until Lone Tree’s Keegan Edwards hit three-straight three-pointers to kick off a 12-1 Lions run to end the half.
The Warriors got back within four early in the third quarter before another 7-0 push stretched the Lions’ lead and set up Cal-Wheat’s monster comeback.
Buchmeyer scored 19 of his career-high 31 points in the fourth quarter and shot 14-of-18 from the free throw line. Kaden Schnede added 15 points, while Banowetz had 14 and Austin Henning nine.
Schnede added 10 rebounds for a double-double, while Buchmeyer had nine boards, eight assists and a steal. Chase Knoche, meanwhile, had five assists of his own.