The Free Press, Mankato, MN


March 7, 2014

Bartlett FTs push surprising Saints to state

Victory gives St. Peter a .500 record

MANKATO — If Kolin Bartlett had been able to play last season, the highly ranked St. Peter boys basketball team might have made it to the state tournament.

But the 6-foot-6 center missed the postseason with his second major knee injury, and the Saints, who won 24 games, lost in the section final.

On Friday, with a team that was seeded only fourth in the subsection and had lost six of its last nine games in the regular season, Bartlett provided the winning offensive rebound and two free throws for the surprising victory.

"This means a ton," Bartlett said. "Every year, your goal is to make it to the state tournament. Everyone's gonna say we're only .500, but we knew we could do it."

The first half was played at St. Peter's halfcourt pace, though the Giants jumped ahead 6-0 in the first two minutes. Tremaine Wadley's 3-pointer kept the Giants ahead 12-8 at the 10-minute mark, but Tom Steidler got involved in St. Peter's offense, sparking an 8-0 run.

Reserve post Tyler Eccles scored consecutive baskets to put LSH back on top 25-23 in the final three minutes, but the Saints stayed close with free throws, making nine in the first half. It was a free throw by LSH's Jordan Kahlow in the final minute that put the Giants up 27-26 at the break, a far slower-paced game than the 85-80 victory that LSH had when the teams met Dec. 17.

The pace was a little quicker in the second half, and the Giants built a 37-30 lead, but the Saints had a 14-5 run, with Bartlett, who missed most of the first half with two fouls, scoring six points, that put them up 44-42.

"It was my fault I wasn't out there; I can't blame it on the refs," Bartlett said. "I knew I had to make up for it."

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