The Free Press, Mankato, MN

March 7, 2014

Bartlett FTs push surprising Saints to state

Victory gives St. Peter a .500 record

By Chad Courrier

---- — 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."

Wadley made a pair of baskets that put LSH up 55-49, but Steidler's 3-pointer off an inbound play tied the game again at 56 with three intense minutes to play.

"We knew this was going to be a game of runs," first-year coach Sean Keating said. "You try to take away their transition, but you just have to have poise and patience. These kids have been in games like this before, and that experience paid off."

A pair of free throws by Jordan Kahlow put the Giants up two, but reserve Nick Rosburg, who had 12 of his 14 points in the second half, made a free throw to cut the lead to one. Rosburg had two more free throws that could have won with 6 seconds to play, but he missed, and Bartlett grabbed the rebound, getting fouled.

He made two free throws for the lead, and the Giants weren't able to get a good look in the last three seconds. Bartlett scored all 10 of his points in the second half.

"I was very confident," Keating said. "He's a warrior, he's battled through two ACL surgeries. He's the guy you want at the line."

Brendan Reese and Steidler each scored 11 points, and Steidler had seven rebounds, one more than Bartlett, who was a reserve on St. Peter's state-tournament team in 2012.

Kahlow led LSH (16-12) with 14 points, with Riley McGraw scoring 11 and Wadley with 10. Brady Rose had nine points and 11 rebounds.

St. Peter (14-14) will play in the Class AA quarterfinals Wednesday at 6 or 8 p.m, at either Williams Arena or Target Center. The pairings will be determined today.


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