Cavalier slips past Grafton boys
Girls win 68-30 over Tornadoes
In a battle between the top two teams in District 4 Monday, the Cavalier Tornadoes handed the Spoilers their first district loss of the season 49-47 in Grafton. It came little more than a week after the Spoilers beat the Tornadoes by two on their home floor.
Deane Bjornson sparked the Tornadoes offense in the fourth quarter, with two buckets late, but none bigger than his basket with 15.1 seconds to go to give Cavalier a two point lead.
“We really played hard,” Tornadoes head coach Bryce Laxdal said. “In the past, when Grafton made a run on us, we kinda gave up and played with our heads down the rest of the game.
Hunter Baldwin, the Spoilers sophomore forward, attempted to send the game into overtime but missed a two-point bucket with 2.3 seconds to go in regulation.
“That out of bounds play they drew up at the end was a good one,” Laxdal said. “We just got lucky. One of our guys said he just barely tipped it so Baldwin couldn’t get a clean catch.”
Grafton coach Riley Lillemoen said the play was actually drawn to bring Garek Droog to the rim, but that didn’t happen.
Cavalier started the game on an 8-0 run in the first seven minutes of the game, until Droog hit a basket with 4:22 left in the first quarter to cut the lead to six. Two Cavalier baskets later, Droog scored again with just over two minutes left. A short time later, he drove to the bucket once more to cut the first quarter lead to 12-6.
The second quarter saw baskets traded between the two teams, but it was a basket by Cavalier’s Blaine Steiger that was the biggest of the quarter – a three-pointer at the buzzer, which put the Tornadoes up 26-20 at halftime.
“They probably had about 12 to 14 fast break points in that first half,” Lillemoen said. “We did a better job in the second half.”
Grafton played from behind for much of the first three quarters, but Droog tied the game with 1:38 left in the third quarter at 33-33, and, one minute later, gave the Spoilers their first lead, 35-33.
“They (Cavalier) did a good job defensively,” Lillemoen said. “But we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball.”
The momentum swung Grafton’s way at the end of the third, and carried that way throughout the rest of the game.
“The kids played hard like they always do,” Lillemoen said. “We finally battled back in and made a few shots and got back into it, but couldn’t quite finish it off.”
Forty-five seconds into the final quarter, Brock Robbins scored to tie the game. Robbins and Droog then traded buckets, and the Spoilers found themselves ahead of the Tornadoes again with just over six minutes left in the game.
A pair of Austin Contreras free throws widened the lead to four.
Cavalier came storming back, behind the strength of five straight points by Ryan Chrest, and with 4:09 to go in the fourth quarter, Grafton was once again down by one.