By Trent Jerome, coach
The Bearcats boys’ basketball team participated in two playoff contests to wrap up the 2021-2022 season. The first of these games was at home in Lancaster versus the Lake of the Woods Bears. The Bearcats were the No. 8 seed rolling into playoffs while the Bears were the No. 9 seed.
Earlier in the season KCC handled LOW in Hallock where the Bearcats were victorious 65-40.
Both teams were ready to go right from the jump and you could tell it was going to be a great playoff battle. LOW and KCC traded buckets early until an impressive dunk from Kaden Vig sparked a Bearcats run to pull ahead. LOW began to fight the Bearcats’ run by hitting a few shots from outside, but it was not enough to catch the Bearcats by halftime.
At the half, KCC led the contest 33-24. To begin the second half, LOW continued their scrappy fight to catch the Bearcats. The Bears were able to cut it to a 2-point differential and kept it close for most of the second half. With 5 minutes remaining, the Bearcats entered a full court press that left the Bears scrambling.
Braden Faken got quick steals that led to easy transition buckets for KCC. Coming down the stretch, Evan Austad and Brandon Ristad each hit a clutch three-pointer to seal up the ball game. KCC won 64-49 and advanced to the second round where they ran into the No. 1 seed, the Sacred Heart Eagles.
Scoring- Braden Faken 13, Evan Austad 12, Frank Finney 12, Kaden Vig 11, Brandon Ristad 7, Chisum Schmiedeberg 6, and Ozzie Meyer-Rice 3
For playoff game No. 2, KCC traveled south to Sacred Heart High School to take on the section-leading Eagles. The Eagles handed two losses to the Bearcats during the regular season where the scores were 50-30 and 50-24. KCC held Sacred Heart to two of their lowest scoring outings and the Bearcats were hoping to do it again to help them achieve the upset.
To start the ball game, Sacred Heart began to show their offensive and defensive power right away. Knocking down threes, forcing turnovers and scoring quick baskets had the Eagles up 15-0. Finally, the Bearcats were able to score, but it was not enough to battle back into the game in the first half.
Heading into the break, the score was KCC, 10 – SH 27. Sacred Heart began the second half just like the first and the game was looking like it was going to get out of control. However, KCC began to use its defensive attack to lead to easy offense on the other end of the floor. The Bearcats gave everything they had to catch the Eagles, but they couldn’t climb out of the large deficit. The final score of the contest was Eagles 57 – Bearcats 37. Sacred Heart went on to win the section and will represent Section 8 at the Minnesota State Basketball Tournament.
Scoring- Kaden Vig 14, Braden Faken 11, Frank Finney 6, Chisum Schmiedeberg 4, and Jacob Rice 2.
The Bearcats finished the season with a record of 6 wins and 18 losses. Kaden Vig received honorable mention for all-conference selection by the conference coaches.