Braham was not close to showing its “A” game Friday night, March 23, in the Class AA semifinals, while opponent Plainview-Elgin-Millville displayed a crisp passing attack and hounding defense to advance to Saturday afternoon’s championship game with a 84-67 win over the Bombers on the Target Center floor.
The Bulldogs will go for their first State title against Litchfield, who got a last-second miracle to defeat defending champ Perham 35-33. The Bombers and Perham will face each other in Saturday’s 3rd-place game- 12 pm noon at Concordia University in St. Paul.
The game was 9-7 when P-E-M tore off a 9-0 run as Braham’s shooters were inciting repeated ‘air-ball’ chants. The closest the Bombers got the rest of the way was 20-15 after Cam Braund made a steal and fed Tyler Vaughan for a breakaway. The Bombers then had a horridly uncharacteristic turnover stretch, and the Bulldogs’ Cory Speer (23 pts for game) fed another frenzy which built a 36-17 advantage.
Vaughan, constantly drawing double and sometimes triple shadows on the perimeter, battled hard in the second half by scoring 12 straight Braham points which had the lead down to 49-37. The Bulldogs then began attacking the hoop with very slick passing, producing a 82-62 lead before the starters subbed out.
Vaughan scored 35 with 10 boards; Braund was tough inside on offense for the Bombers with 14 points and 5 rebounds. Collectively, Braham went 6-for-27 (22.2%) from the arc. Both teams had 18 turnovers in the game- kind of a surprising stat.
Here’s hoping the Bombers go out with a clean game against the 2011 champ Yellowjackets in the 3rd-place battle…