Bombers scratch out victory over Blue Devils

Shaun Hollenkamp battling for a defensive board in the first half when the Bombers jumped to an early 16-point lead. Hollenkamp did a workman's job covering Blue Devil scorer Tyler Wilson.

The UMD court has been the scene of plenty of heart-stoppers this post-season, and Thursday night’s Section 7AA boys hoops semifinals were no exception. The Braham boys scratched and clawed their way past defending-champ Virginia 77-72 to reach the championship which will be 7 p.m. Saturday, March 17 back on that UMD floor.

Waiting for them will be Esko (25-4) who barely got past Deer River in a 71-68 match prior to Braham’s game. The Eskomos were up by nine points late, Deer River stormed back to take a one-point lead, then Esko got one last big steal and set of free throws to edge the Warriors. Braham (28-1) and the Eskomos did not meet this season.

Anthony Bias came out gunning for the Bombers with three quick three-pointers for a 10-5 edge. The game began looking like a blowout when Braham upped the advantage to 27-11 with 6:39 left in the first half, but the Blue Devils roared back to make it a 38-35 game at the break.

Zach Dahlman gave the Bombers quality minutes off the bench with 5 offensive rebounds among his 8 boards. He also scored 11 points on both inside and outside shots.

Center Cameron Braund picked up his fourth foul 10 seconds into the second half, but junior Zach Dahlman stepped up with a strong showing (11 points, 8 rebounds inc. 5 offensive boards) to fill the void. Virginia was always hanging around, however, within one point for a long stretch.

Then Bias popped his fourth three-pointer of the game, Tyler Vaughan finished off a huge three-point play, and Bias (16 pts, 2 steals) hit a pull-up jumper in the lane to make it a 66-59 game with just over three minutes to go. Still, Cade Stackpool kept the Devils sticking close with his long-range hits; the game was 73-69 with 41 ticks left. Vaughan scored eight of his game-high 32 down the stretch, along with Sam Stigen hitting three free throws to send the team home with a win.

 

Tyler Vaughan blasted to the hole for big buckets and a key three-point play in the final six minutes against Virginia. He scored 32 points despite shooting a very unTyler-like 9-for-15 at the line.

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