Rebels fall short at the line

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 8, 2002

WASECA – It’s tough when postseason games are decided at the free-throw line.

Friday, March 08, 2002

WASECA – It’s tough when postseason games are decided at the free-throw line. It’s especially tough when they go in favor of the opposition.

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That’s what happened to the United South Central Rebels, who were outscored 17-2 at the free-throw line and lost 61-54 to Hayfield in a Section 2AA, Sub-section East semifinal boys’ basketball game at Waseca Thursday night.

The Rebels, seeded second in the tournament, finished 12-12 while the 13-12 Vikings, seeded third, advanced to Monday night’s championship game against top-seeded Waterville-Elysian-Morristown.

The difference Thursday was all too obvious. It was fouls and free throws. The Rebels, called for 24 fouls to Hayfield’s eight, had three starters foul out.

USC coach Travis Olson wouldn’t comment on the foul discrepancy.

&uot;The kids had a nice season,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m pleased with the things they accomplished. They never gave up on themselves, they always gave themselves an opportunity to win. Tonight was no different. We just didn’t come up with the win.&uot;

The Rebels came up with several early lay-ups while taking an 8-2 lead, but the Vikings pulled within 14-11 at the end of the first quarter.

A key play came just before halftime, with the Rebels in-bounding the ball with a 28-24 lead. Tyler Kramer was there for a steal and lay-up for the Vikings. Instead of a 30-24 halftime advantage, the Rebels were up 28-26.

Hayfield threatened to take control in the third period, going on top 36-32 with 1:21 left, but the Rebels went on a 6-0 run to take a 38-36 edge.

The Rebels opened the fourth quarter with a three-point basket by Jon Beyer, giving them their biggest lead of the night at 41-36.

A pair of driving lay-ups by freshman David Johnson put the Vikings on top to stay with 5:22 remaining. The Rebels refused to fold, getting as close as 56-50 with 1:03 left, but the Vikings held them off with free throws.

Johnson, a 6-foot-1 guard, led all scorers with 21 points. The only other Hayfield scorer in double figures was senior Mark Oelkers with 10. Nick DeMaria and Oelkers scored nine apiece.

Beyer led the Rebels with 16 points. Cole Iverson scored 12, Ben Wetzell eight, Chris Vondracek seven, Ryan Treptow six, Mitch Forderer three and Trent Ulrich two.

The Rebels graduate seven seniors in Iverson, Beyer, Forderer, Ulrich, Dusty Niebuhr, Mitch Wigern and Tim Meyer.