ST. CLOUD - A bloody nose.
That's what Dan Kornbaum's Little Falls teammates gave the sophomore forward after his offensive put-back sent the Little Falls Flyers to the Class 3A state boys' basketball tournament with a 62-60 Section 8-3A victory over St. Cloud Apollo Wednesday at Halenbeck Hall on the campus of St. Cloud State University.
The Flyers came out of a timeout with 22 seconds remaining and the ball in a 60-60 game. The Flyers' initial offensive play broke down, forcing sophomore Ethan Mustonen to take a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining. The shot misfired. But out of nowhere rose the 6-foot-4 Kornbaum to tip the miss in at the buzzer, creating a frenzy of white and purple Flyer jerseys crashing on top of him.
When he finally got back to his feet his nose was bleeding.
Little Falls fans were overjoyed Wednesday night when their Flyers beat St. Cloud Apollo at St.Cloud State University to win the section finals. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood » Purchase reprints of this photo.
"I was just thinking (Apollo's) Kendall (Smith) is going to try and block it," said Kornbaum. "But I was wide open. Ethan missed perfectly. I told him after the game, 'Nice pass.'"
It was Kornbaum's only basket. It was his only rebound. The starter struggled with foul trouble and Apollo's giants in the paint. While he said his basket didn't make up for his play for the rest of the game, his teammates will take it.
"I thought it was going into overtime when Ethan missed it," said sophomore Alex Scott. "Then I saw Dan go up. I quick looked at the clock and there was one second left and I knew we were going to state. I couldn't believe it."
Kornbaum's rebound was just the Flyers' second offensive rebound of the game. Apollo had 14 and outrebounded the Flyers 35-23 for the game. Little Falls didn't need many rebounds as it shot 53.3 percent (24-45) from the field, including 57.9 percent from 3-point land. Little Falls hit 11 3-pointers, with none bigger than Scott's fourth, which sparked a 7-0 run to tie the game at 60.
"We came out of the timeout and I hit the 3," said Scott. "Then we get the stop. We get down the floor and get a layup. Get another stop and we were on a roll. We knew we were going to do it."
Little Falls 62, Apollo 60
Key: Dan Kornbaum's last second shot sends Flyers to state
Overall: LF 13-14, SCA 19-9
Next: Class 3A state quarterfinal Wednesday, to be seeded.
Junior Nick Erdrich scored two of his game-high 20 points in the Flyers' late run. Ronnie Kornbaum, who finished with 17 points, hit the tying shot with 2:34 remaining in the half. After two missed shots by Apollo, the Flyers used stall for 1:30 creating the last second heroics.
"We wanted to run a play for Nick," said Flyers head coach Kevin Jordan. "We were going to screen the screener and hit him going by with the basketball, but they double teamed Alex and broke up our play. Ethan did a good job of shooting the ball when he was open and Danny did a great job of crashing the boards. If only he would have dunked it."
In the first half the Flyers were able to neutralize Apollo's size by making their shots. Little Falls shot 52 percent from the field and 60-percent from 3-point. Erdrich scored 14 in that time. The forward shot 5-of-7 from the field, including two 3-pointers. Ronnie Kornbaum added 10 points.
Erdrich's 3-pointer at 4:14 handed Little Falls a 31-20 lead. After an Apollo timeout, it was the Eagles turn to soar. Apollo closed out the first half with a 12-3 run to cut that lead to two going into halftime. The Eagles used a full-court press to create four of the Flyers seven first-half turnovers. They finished with eight points of turnovers.
Apollo managed 11 second-chance points from 10 offensive rebounds in the first half. Despite a height disadvantage the Flyers matched Apollo's 22 points in the paint and held the Eagles to just 17 second-chance points for the game.
"This is an unbelievable feeling," said Scott. "This summer I had not clue we would be here. We just wanted to get that first section win at home. When we got that we knew we could do it. This is just great."
Little Falls 34 28 - 62
St. Cloud Apollo 32 28 - 60
Alex Scott 14, John Dunlap 2, Ryan Voss 3, Nick Erdrich 20, Dan Kornbaum 2, Ronnie Kornbaum 17, Ethan Mustonen. 2, Zach Horejsi 2 Team totals: FG 24-45 (53.3 percent), FT 3-5 (60.0 percent), 3-point baskets: 11-19 (Scott 4, Erdrich 3, R. Kornbaum 3, Voss 3). Rebounds: 23 (R. Kornbaum 9, Scott 5), Assists: 15 (R. Kornbaum 6, Scott 5), Turnovers: 11. Blocks: 2 (D. Kornbaum, Mustonen), Steals: 6, Fouls: 16
ST. CLOUD APOLLO
Jon Carr 14, Mike Frericks 2, Andre Garth 11, Greg Wimberly 6, Ahmed Farah 8, Kendeall Smith 15, Tim Bergstraser 4. Team totals: FG 21-51 (41.2 percent), FT 13-22 (59.1 percent), 3-point baskets: 5-13 (Carr 4, Garth 1). Rebounds: 35, Assists: 7, Blocks: 2, Steals: 8, Fouls: 14.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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