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Cannon Falls' Hunter Johnson (right) tries to spin around a Byron defender during Saturday's Section 1AA-West championship game at the Mayo Civic Auditorium in Rochester. (Photo by Nick Gerhardt/Special to the R-E)

Boys Basketball: Time runs out for Bombers in 1AA-West loss

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Boys Basketball: Time runs out for Bombers in 1AA-West loss
Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

By Nick Gerhardt

Special to the R-E

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ROCHESTER – Cannon Falls hasn’t backed down from opponents or adversity this season and the Bombers certainly weren’t going to against top-seeded Byron in the 1AA-West sub-section championship Saturday at the Mayo Civic Center.

A 1-5 start, a 14-point loss in the Hiawatha Valley League championship to the Bears and even a four-point overtime deficit in the semifinals against second-seeded Hayfield couldn’t deter Cannon Falls this season, but a timeout did.

The third-seeded Bombers (20-10) fell 51-46 to the Bears (22-8) after calling a timeout they didn’t have with 5 seconds left on the clock. Cannon Falls went from having a chance to win the game to not even getting the ball back for a chance to win.

“Last timeout I thought the ref said we had one more,” Bombers head coach Josh Davisson said. “It’s unfortunate for them to end their year and careers like that.”

Cannon Falls had possession of the ball with 13 seconds left to play when it called timeout. During the timeout the Bombers believed they were told they had one remaining timeout. Cannon Falls missed a shot off the ensuing inbounds play and fouled Byron’s Kip Knutson with 6.5 seconds left.

Knutson made the first free throw to give the Bears a 47-46 lead, but missed the second one. The Bombers corralled the rebound and called timeout with 5 seconds left, only to learn they no longer had any timeouts. The referees called a technical foul on Cannon Falls, which put Byron back on the line and gave them possession of the ball after the free throws.

Buster Meyer made both free-throw attempts to make it 49-46 for the Bears, and on the next possession Joe Smith got fouled and sank both free throws for the final.

“It’s very disappointing because we lost to them twice in the regular season, HVL championship too,” Bombers senior Jordan Lundell said. “We really thought we had them this time.”

Cannon Falls lost the first meeting of the season on Jan. 3, 52-48 in Byron, and the second meeting on Feb. 17, 65-51.

The game featured 11 lead changes. The Bombers battled back from a nine-point deficit to take an 18-16 lead with 7 minutes left in the half when Lundell converted a steal into a layup. Senior Brock Peterson put the Bombers up 23-22 at halftime with a 3-pointer.

Cannon Falls led by as much as six in the second half and led by one until Meyer hit a 3-pointer with 2:51 left to play for the Bears.

Bryon extended the lead to six with 1:24 left to play when Bombers senior Alex Bultena hit consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game at 46 with 48 seconds left to play.

Bultena led Cannon Falls, which reached the sub-section title game with a 54-52 overtime victory over Hayfield, with 13 points and eight rebounds. Lundell scored 11 points and pulled down six rebounds. Hunter Johnson finished with five points, seven assists and five rebounds. Senior Austin Noble chipped in eight points and six rebounds.

Richardson and Meyer led the Byron with 12 points each.

The Bears move on to face Caledonia (26-2), which beat Plainview-Elgin-Millville 96-63 in the 1AA-East sub-section title game, for the Section 1AA title Thursday at the Mayo Civic Center.

The Bombers graduate a group of eight seniors in the spring, a group Davisson has coached since they played as eighth-graders.

“They’re such a great group of kids, they don’t give in,” Davisson said. “Down four points in overtime against Hayfield they found a way to win the basketball game.”

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The Red Wing Republican Eagle covers local sports in Goodhue County and surrounding areas. 
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