ALEXANDRIA - A Ben Gervais layup with seven seconds remaining helped the Brainerd Warriors come from behind to defeat the Alexandria Cardinals 71-70 Thursday.
The Warriors battled back from two 10-point deficits to claim the Central Lakes Conference and Section 8-4A victory. Brainerd trailed 39-30 at halftime and trailed by 10 with eight minutes remaining in the second half.
"At halftime we talked about how we were going to learn a lot about the character of this team," said Warriors coach Matt Urbanek. "To their credit nobody put their heads down and they played together and played hard and showed a lot of heart to come back and get this win."
Urbanek said the Warriors were able to play better defense in the second half and hit free throws down the stretch.
Ben Gervais scored the winning basket for the Warriors.
A steal with 10 seconds remaining set up the game-winning basket. A bounce pass from Kyle Schaible to a cutting Gervais was the winning play.
Eight different Warriors scored. Kyle Crocker tallied 15 points followed by Gervais' 12, Jed Magstadt's 11 and Mike Valesano's nine.
"That's the kind of team we need to have," said Urbanek. "We have to have a lot of guys score. It's going to be harder to prepare for us. We're not going to have one player who is going to score a lot of points for us. We're going to have a balanced scoring attack.
"Another thing that we saw in this game is we were able to play a lot of different players in a lot of different situations."
Connor Illies drained five 3-pointers and finished with 26 points for Alexandria.
Brainerd 30 41 - 71
Alexandria 39 31 - 70
John Wiese 3, Jed Magstadt 11, Ben Gervais 12, Kyle Crocker 15, Mike Valesano 9, Kyle Schaible 7, T.J. Struss 6, Sam Feyder 8. Team totals: FT 19-31 (61 percent), 3-point baskets: 2-19 (Gervais 2). Conference - 1-0. Overall - 1-0. Next game: Brainerd at Sauk Rapids-Rice 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Dillon Kelly 6, Steve Conley 9, Peterson 3, Jesse Hafdal 5, Charlie Warnes 10, Connor Illies 26, Steve Trandahl 9, Giraix 2. Team totals: FT 16-21 (76 percent), 3-point baskets: (Kelly 1, Peterson 1, Hafdal 1, Illies 5).
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