The Lakeville North Panthers uncharachteristically turned the ball over down the stretch repeatedly in a 69-66 loss to the Wayzata Trojans.

Panthers head coach Jon Oxton agreed it was the difference when I visited with him after the game and credited Wayzata with getting more of the loose balls on the floor.

Oxton said the loss does not diminish the Lakeville North season, and I got the sense that he is not a big fan of the consolation bracket. It was the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association that requested it.

Lakeville North led by seven at the half and saw that lead disappear after three straight Trojan three-point shots to start the second half.

Wayzata achieved their biggest lead with 13:32 to go at 41-36.

The Panthers recovered to take a five-point lead with 10:25 to go thanks to hoops from 6-foot-10 senior Nathan Reuvers and 6-foot-6 sophomore Tyler Wahl. Six-foot-2 senior Ethan Igbanugo also had a three-point play during their run.

With 8:37 to go, it looked like Lakeville North had restored some order to the game and led 53-46.

Wahl hit a free throw with 4:37 to go, giving the Panthers a 61-56 lead, but Wayzata was physical the entire game and cut the lead to two with 4:08 to go.

Lakeville North had three costly turnovers over the next two minutes and still had a shot to win at the end.

Jalen Lucas hit a three-pointer with 23 seconds to go to tie the game and under the basket a foul was called, giving Reuvers two free throws. He made just one of the two.

Instead of going for the last shot to win, Wayzata's Gavin Baumgartner pulled up for a shot and a foul was called with 14 seconds to go. He hit both to give Wayzata a one-point lead, but the Panthers had a shot to win the game.

Oxton called a time out and everyone at the Target Center was probably thinking Reuvers would get the ball.

I remember saying I would have Igbanugo drive to the bucket.

He did drive, but threw the ball back out top to Wahl, who missed an open three and the littlest guy on the floor, 5-foot-10 sophomore Jacob Beeninga, secured the rebound in the middle of the paint.

Beeninga was fouled immediately and hit both free throws with 3 seconds to go.

The Panthers had Reuvers planted at the Timberwolves logo at half court but was double-teamed so they couldn't get him the ball.

A pass was made to a slashing Wahl, who threw the ball to Lucas flying down the sideline and he had to force up a shot from a difficult angle and Wayzata moved on.

The H&R Block Lakeville, Faribault, Owatonna stat of the game was points off turnovers, with Wayzata scoring 23 and Lakeville North three.

Tomorrow Lakeville North will play a very good Chaska Hawk team at 10AM at Concordia University in St. Paul. I'll broadcast the game on Power 96 FM 95.9 beginning at 9:45AM.

Reuvers finished the game with 19 points and eight rebounds in 34 minutes and was 7 of 14 from the field with two threes. He was 3 of 4 from the free throw line and had two blocks.

Igbanugo had 18 points on 5 of 6 shooting from the field and 6 of 7 free throws in 34 minutes and had four rebounds. Wahl finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes on 4 of 7 shooting from the field and 5 of 7 at the charity stripe.

Wayzata had just two players in double figures. Baumgartner had 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes. Beeninga tallied 17 points, five rebounds and one assist in 28 minutes.

Chaska had a seven-point lead with six minutes to go and Champlin Park got the game into a scramble to tie it and have the ball the final possession of the game.

A pull up jumper was missed with the clock winding down. The ball was back tapped and 5-foot-10 senior Sam Dubois, with about a second to go, let it fly and it went in for the 53-50 win.

My View at Target Center- photo by Gordy Kosfeld
My View at Target Center- photo by Gordy Kosfeld


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