Boys basketball: Annandale rallies to top Cathedral

Boys basketball: Annandale rallies to top Cathedral


Boys basketball: Annandale rallies to top Cathedral


BUFFALO – It was a situation the Annandale Cardinals had been in before.

In their eyes, Tuesday’s North Sub-Section 5-2A championship game was a lot like the Wright County Conference is night in, night out.

“We do believe the Wright County Conference puts us in these situations every night,” said Skip Dolan, Annandale’s exuberant head coach.

Annandale beat St. Cloud Cathedral 63-61 to advance to the Section 5-2A final. The seventh-ranked Cardinals (22-6) play Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (23-5) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Cloud State’s Halenbeck Hall.

Annandale aims for its third straight state tournament after beating the second-ranked Crusaders (23-6) in the playoffs for the third year in a row.

“It was up and down, just like it has been all year,” said Cardinals senior post Andrew Fort, who had eight points, 12 rebounds and four steals. “We’ve been in quite a few games like this. Us and Holy Family, it went right down to the end and they hit a buzzer-beater. It was a tough one, but why we had those games was to get better for games like this.”

Cathedral led almost the whole way, including 34-28 at halftime. Annandale tied it for the first time in the second half with 3:03 to play at 56-56.

The Crusaders scored the next four points, including a three-pointer by Brindley Theisen that put Cathedral up 60-56 with 1:59 to go.

But it wasn’t over.

First there was a basket. Then, Matt Miller was fouled by Steven Neutzling with 40.3 seconds to go. It was called a flagrant foul. Miller was knocked to the ground. Miller made one of two to close it to 60-59.

Annandale retained the ball and Riley Atkinson made his only two points of the night at the line with 13.3 seconds left to give the Cardinals their first second-half lead, 61-60.

Cathedral’s Brady Schmit was fouled on the other end with 10 seconds left and made one of two to tie it. The Cardinals got the ball in to Miller and the 6-foot-3 post did what he had done all game. He drove to the hoop and was fouled with 2.9 seconds left.

He made both free throws. A desperation shot wasn’t close. Annandale had a great victory.

“That was amazing,” said Miller, who is headed to St. John’s to play football. “That was a crazy game.”

Miller finished with 29 points. He and Fort supplied the inside game that helped balance Cathedral’s quickness and fine outside shooting.

“Those guys are a really strong team,” Miller said. “They’re a little quicker than we are. We tried to work it inside and take advantage of our size ….

“I’m not the greatest free-throw shooter in the world. I just tried to keep my cool and concentrated.”

Miller was shooting 42 percent from the free-throw line heading into the game. He made 9 of 12, 75 percent, Tuesday.

Neutzling led the Crusaders with 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Theisen wound up with 17 points and three blocked shots and Schmit had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

But it wasn’t enough.

“Like I told my kids, all those Cathedral folks are wonderful people,” Dolan said. “I’ve known the Neutzlings for a long time and I’ve always been treated well by all those people. I’ve sat with them when I’ve been scouting.

“It’s a really tough loss for (them). It’s just a shame that two of the best teams in the state wound up in the same sub-section. You’d think there could be some way to seed this differently.”

There isn’t. Annandale is now one win away from state.

ANNANDALE – Kyler Fobbe 12 (7 rebounds, 3 assists), Matt Miller 29, Chase Knickerbocker 10 (6 rebounds), Tanner Olean 2, Andrew Fort 8 (12 rebounds, 4 steals), Barrett Bataille 0, Brock Fobbe 0, Riley Atkinson 2. Totals: FG 22, FT 13-17, REB 36, TO 12, ASST 9, PF 13.

CATHEDRAL – Mike O’Hagan 8 (3 steals), Brindley Theisen 17 (3 blocked shots), Steven Neutzling 20 (10 rebounds, 4 assists), Brady Schmit 16 (11 rebounds, 3 steals), John Peschel 0, Isaac Heying 0, Jack Schramel 0, Michael Chalupsky 0. Totals: FG 23, FT 10-14, REB 36, TO 12, ASST 6, PF 14.

Halftime score: Cathedral 34, Annandale 28.


BUFFALO – Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted won the South Sub-Section 5-2A championship, getting 33 points from senior forward Austin Smith and 13 points from senior center Tyler Sale.

HLWW (23-5) led 30-27 at halftime.


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