The Belle Plaine Tigers scored 9 more points at the free throw line in a 55-54 overtime win over Bethlehem Academy in Faribault tonight.

The Tigers started the game up 15-1.  The first Cardinal field goal didn't come until the 9:41 mark of the first half.

Bethlehem Academy never gave up and led 21-20 before Belle Plaine closed out the first half on a 9-0 run and led 29-21 at the half.

After the Cardinals took the one point lead, the Tigers went into a zone and Bethlehem Academy struggled mightily to execute against it.

Belle Plaine was 7 for 7 from the free throw line at the half and Bethlehem Academy was 3 of 5 from the stripe.

In the second half the Cardinals were down by double digits and whittled the lead to single digits at the four minute mark the everything fell into place for them thanks to some hard work.

6'0 junior Ethan Nutter had three 3 point baskets and Zac VanThomme added two down the stretch including the incredible sequence at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime.

With about 2.8 seconds to go in the game Belle Plaine was passing the ball in bounds under the Cardinal basket.

I remember saying BA would need a steal and a three point basket to tie the affair and that's exactly what VanThomme did.

He stole the pass and quickly put up a shot from the corner as the final horn sounded and a three point basket was scored to tie the game at 50 at the end of regulation.

The crowd erupted out of their seats on the incredible shot.

Bethlehem Academy got a lead in the overtime and looked like they might pull off the comeback win but a lack of execution down the stretch and turnovers proved costly.

The Cardinals were without the services of several members of their team giving others an opportunity show what they can do.

Nutter, VanThomme, Avery Hunt and Griffen Malecha were named our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game.

VanThomme finished the night with 14 points, Malecha added 12 and Hunt 11.

Nutter concluded with three 3 point baskets.

Bethlehem Academy had a foul called late in the overtime when they were up by two on a three point shot by 5'10 Belle Plaine senior Andrew Hunsader.

Hunsader calmly stepped to the line and hit all free throws to put the Tigers up by one and that's how the game would end 55-54.

The Cardinals had a shot to win at the end but couldn't get the necessary basket for the win.

Belle Plaine was led by 6'0 senior Noah Hastings with 15 points.

Hastings was 9 of 9 from the free throw line.  Belle Plaine finished the game 18 of 23 and Bethlehem Academy was 9 of 14 from the charity stripe.

The 8-6 Cardinals host New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Friday night and the game will be on KDHL.

A recognition of the 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94 teams will be held so let's pack Van Orsow Auditorium.

Those teams went 82-5 and placed second and third at the State Tournament.

I hope to have a couple of the guys on at halftime to talk about their memories.

Bethlehem Academy Plotting Strategy Against Belle Plaine. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Bethlehem Academy Plotting Strategy Against Belle Plaine. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

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