MONTEVIDEO - The Class A Section 3 Tournament North No. 7 seed Lakeview came ready to play and nearly pulled off an upset of second-seeded Canby in the quarterfinals Saturday in Montevideo, but the Lancers capitalized on a 6-0 run down the stretch to edge past the Lancers, 61-55, to advance to the semifinals.
After trading baskets for most of the second half, Lakeview's Jaden Hoffman went 1-for-2 at the line to knot the score at 54-all with one minute, 56 seconds remaining in the contest.
Then, Canby sparked a run to surge past the Lakers, beginning with a rebound putback from the Lancers' Zach Nuy at the 1:25 mark. Forty seconds later, Michael Slaba converted on a drive to give Canby a 58-54 advantage. McKinley Johansen capped off the run with a layup as the clock neared the 30-second mark.
"We didn't want to give them anything easy and we definitely didn't want to foul," Canby head coach Jon Hanson said. "I told them to play good defense and take good shots and that's what they did."
Despite a valiant comeback effort, the Lakers were unable to match the score in the time allotted and closed out the season with a 7-17 record.
"I can't say enough good about what the team did," Lakeview head coach Dan Hoffman said. "They played their hearts out. They did everything I asked of them and I'm very proud of them. They played the way they could, and if you're going to go out, that's the way to go out."
Canby jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the game on a basket from Josh Gallegos. The Lancers stretched that lead to 19-8 when Johansen drained a 3-pointer from the left baseline.
But Lakeview struck back with a 10-0 run. Jonah Dovre hit a pair free throws to spark the run, followed by a layup from Jordan Larsen, two free throws from Jakeb Brower and a 4-point play from Jaden Hoffman to pull within one point.
"I'm very proud of everybody that played and everybody on the bench, too," Hoffman said. "The bench really provided a lot of support to us out there on the court."
The Lakers took a 30-29 lead on a pair of free throws from Seth Goepferich before Canby ended the half with Nuy's rebound putback and Nathan Cooper's free throw to hold a 32-30 halftime lead.
After trailing by two points six minutes into the second half, Lakeview went on a 14-1 run, taking a 45-38 lead on a dunk from Dovre and a second set of free throws from Brower. Hoffman also hit two shots from downtown in the stretch.
"I feel pretty good about the game," Hoffman said. "The team played together for once and it really worked. It was exciting. We ended with a bang."
The Lancers weren't about the quit and clawed their way back into the game, converting points from four different players to take back the lead with 7:28 remaining, on a 3-pointer from Johansen.
The Lakers held a 51-50 edge with 5:34 left to play when Dovre was forced to leave the game after picking up his fifth foul, the second of which was extremely questionable.
Luckily for Lakeview, Canby went cold at the free-throw line for a few minutes, allowing them to stay close. The Lakers finished the contest 15-for-21, while the Lancers were 17 of 35.
"Free-throw shooting was definitely a difference in the game and it kept us in it," Coach Hoffman said. "We had a good run there, but then we let them get back into it. That was the downfall there. It's a game of runs. They just had an extra run at the end there that we couldn't come back from.
"It did hurt losing Jonah, but everybody stepped in and did the job they needed to do. They played awesome defense."
With the win, Canby (22-4 overall) advances to take on No. 3 seed Central Minnesota Christian School at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Southwest Minnesota State University.
"We didn't do many good things," Hanson said. "Offensively, we kind of stood around and forced some things and we didn't make our free throws. To Lakeview's credit, they played good defense and made some 3's. They went on a run there and got ahead. To our credit, we came back. We were down by eight or nine at one point. We get to move on. That's what's important right now."
While ousted from the playoffs, the Lakers are encouraged about the number of returning players next season. The team will lose senior leaders Garrett Wee and Larsen, but return everyone else.
"I'm really glad we got to play basketball with the seniors," Jaden Hoffman said. "They're good leaders. But a lot of us are really excited and pumped for next year, too."
Coach Hoffman hopes this year's momentum will carry over into next season as well.
"It's very encouraging to have so many starters back," he said. "The key is, can they pick up where they left off right now? If they can, we'll be contenders. We've always said they can do it."
CLASS A SECTION 3 TOURNAMENT
CANBY 61, LAKEVIEW 55
LAKEVIEW (7-17 OVERALL): Bayley Enstad 2 3-5 8, Jakeb Brower 0 4-4 4, Jordan Larsen 3 0-0 6, Jacob Neu 3 0-2 7, Jaden Hoffman 3 3-4 12, Seth Goepherich 2 3-3 8, Jonah Dovre 4 2-2 10, Trent Merkins 0 0-1 0. TOTALS: 17 15-21 55.
CANBY (22-4 OVERALL): McKinley Johansen 5-12 2-2 14, Michael Slaba 5-13 8-16 18, Nathan Cooper 0 1-3 1, Zach Nuy 3-8 3-7 9, Josh Gallegos 6-10 2-5 14, Kristian Leppke 2-4 1-2 5, Nick Prokop 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 21-48 17-35 61.
HALFTIME: Canby 32, Lakeview 30. 3-POINT FIELD GOALS: Lakeview 6 (Hoffman 3, Enstad 1, Neu 1, Goepherich 1); Canby 2 (Johansen 2). REBOUNDS: Lakeview 29 (not available); Canby 30 (Gallegos 9, Nuy 6, Leppke 5). TOTAL FOULS (FOULED OUT): Lakeview 25 (Dovre); Canby 19 (Nuy). ASSISTS: Lakeview (not available); Canby 11 (Slaba 6, Johansen 2, Leppke 2). STEALS: Lakeview (not available); Canby 12 (Gallegos 5, Slaba 3). BLOCKED SHOTS: Lakeview (not available); Canby 4 (Gallegos 2, Leppke 1, Prokop 1). TURNOVERS: Lakeview 20; Canby 18.