Photo by Lauren Beukelman
Canby’s Michael Slaba dribbles the ball over Dawson-Boyd’s Cody Aafedt during the Class A Section 3 North Tournament championship on Friday at Southwest Minnesota State University.
MARSHALL - The Canby Lancer boys basketball team capitalized on a 9-0 run in the last minute and half of the game to steal the sub-section Championship away from the North's number-one seeded Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks in a 62-58 rally victory.
With just over a minute remaining in the game the Lancers trailed Dawson-Boyd 58-51 but despite being down the Lancers knew they were not out. Michael Slaba took the ball down the floor finding an open spot at the top of the key, sinking the three-point shot. After grabbing a defensive and offensive board, Zach Ney connected for two points down low to bring the Lancers within two.
The Blackjacks attempted to respond to Canby's five-point run, but lost the ball out of bounds. Back in Lancer territory, Slaba found a gap in Dawson's defense taking it in for a layup and drawing the foul. Slaba hit his free throw, giving the Lancers the lead with 30 seconds on the clock.
The Blackjacks were determined to retake the lead, setting up a three-point opportunity for Jess Nelson but the shot ricocheted of the rim. Joey Lee snagged the rebound and went back up but was unable to connect. The Lancers brought the ball back down the court, feeding the ball into Josh Gallegos who was fouled and sent to the free throw line with 18 seconds remaining in the game. Gallegos sunk both free throws, putting the Lancers in a more comfortable three point lead.
Dawson-Boyd's attempted another three from the corner but couldn't find the net, the Lancer's Kristian Leppke held onto the defensive board and sent to the line. Leppke knocked-down one of two free throws to put the Lancers just out of Dawson-Boyd's reach.
"It was anybody's ball game," Canby coach Jon Hanson said. "I knew it would come down to the end since we are both quality teams."
The Lancers jumped out to an early lead in the opening minutes of the contest, leading the Blackjacks 16-10. Two three-point shots from Kyler Collins and back-to-back jump shots from Joey Lee shifted the momentum, giving Dawson a 25-18 lead. Zach Stratmoen built on his teams momentum with four points of his own, giving the Blackjacks their biggest lead of the game 30-23. The Lancers were able to fight back, tying the contest 34-34 going into the half.
The second-half shaped-up to be a defensive battle with both teams exchanging the lead throughout the half. With 11 minutes remaining in the game, Slaba picked-up his fourth personal foul of the night, raising concern for the Lancer's coaches. "He hasn't come out of the game in awhile," Hanson said. "Right after we took him out they went on a run so I knew we had to get him in there."
Despite better judgement, Slaba remained in the game for the Lancers, hoping to keep himself off the bench. "We switched things up by not having me guard Joey at the end," Michael Slaba said. "11 minutes left is a lot of time to not pick up another foul but my team had my back and they were there to carry me through it."
Slaba was able to remain in the game finishing the night with 31 points to lead the Lancers. "Michael played tremendous tonight," Hanson said.
The Blackjacks were led by Joey Lee with 22 points followed by Michael Lee with 12.
The Lancers found their inspiration from something beyond the teams roster. "At the beginning of the year we put patches on our jerseys for our coach's son who passed away from cancer last year," said Slaba. "These remind us that any day could be your last day and we used that tonight. We came in knowing that this could be our last game together so we just wanted to get through and we all just came together as a team."
CLASS 2A SECTION 3 NORTH TOURNAMENT
At Southwest Minnesota State University
CANBY 62, DAWSON-BOYD 58
CANBY (24-4 OVERALL): McKinley Johansen 3-8 2-2 6, Michael Slaba 11-20 5-5 31, Zach Nuy 6-15 2-2 14, Josh Gallegos 1-4 2-2 4, Kristian Leppke 1-7 1-2 3. TOTALS: 22-54 12-13 62.
DAWSON-BOYD (23-3 OVERALL): Jess Hansen 6, Noah Stelter 6, Joey Lee 22, Kyler Collins 6, Michael Lee 12, Cody Aafedt 6, Zach Stratmoen 6. TOTALS: 58.
HALFTIME: Dawson-Boyd 34, Canby 34. 3-POINT FIELD GOALS: Canby 6-15 (Slaba 4, Johansen 2). REBOUNDS: Canby 34 (Gallegos 11, Leppke 6, Nuy 6, Johansen 6). TOTAL FOULS (FOULED OUT): Canby 10; Dawson-Boyd 17. TECHNICAL FOULS: None. ASSISTS: Canby 13 (Leppke 4, Johansen 3, Slaba 3). STEALS: Canby 6 (Nuy 4). BLOCKED SHOTS: Canby 4 (Gallegos 2). TURNOVERS: Canby 17.