Senior boys drop overtime thriller in NorWOSSA final

Throughout this season, the Muskie senior boys’ basketball team made it a habit of playing close games, with several decided in the final seconds or overtime.
So it was fitting that the NorWOSSA final against Kenora last Thursday was no different.
Trailing by 13 points at halftime, the black-and-gold roared back to tie the game at the end of regulation time, only to fall 53-45 in overtime.
In fact, the Muskies led 40-39 with just 30 seconds left in regulation when Kenora’s Dan Gilmore nailed one of two free throws to tie the score
Then the Muskies were called for a travelling on their final possession to send the game into overtime.
Unfortunately for the black-and-gold, the Broncos regained their scoring touch and completely dominated the extra period to pull out the victory–and a berth at the NWOSSAA final against Thunder Bay later this month.
“Kenora owned the overtime,” Muskie co-coach Paul Noonan noted.
Still, it was a huge turnaround in the second half for the black-and-gold, who spotted Kenora a 20-7 lead after the first quarter and then a 33-20 one at the half.
“We didn’t start out all that bad but [Kenora] came out like firecrackers,” Noonan said. “They were hotter than firecrackers and they were making some far away shots.”
But Noonan said a talk in the dressing room seemed to inspire the Muskies, who came out flying to pull within five points by the end of the third quarter.
“Our guys played like demons,” enthused Noonan of the second-half comeback. “We held them to just seven points in the second half.”
Noonan said he felt the Broncos were their own nemesis in the latter stages of the game by switching to a more passive offensive attack. That allowed the Muskies back in the game, he added.
The Muskies earned a berth into the final against Kenora after defeating the host Dryden Eagles 51-38 in their semi-final showdown.
“We controlled the Dryden game and jumped out to a big, comfortable lead,” noted Muskie co-coach Al McManaman.
Still, the narrow loss to Kenora was a bitter end to a season in which the Muskies improved tremendously from a year ago, finishing the regular campaign with a 4-4 record and doing well at several tournaments along the way.
“We’re happy with the season. We had a winning season overall,” said Noonan. “We reached our goal [of improving the program], and although some guys will move on, we’re definitely moving in the right direction.
“The guys showed a lot of heart and determination,” he added.
The Muskies will lose several players–including some much-needed size in Brian Kosowick and Casey Anderson–but McManaman predicted they will have a wealth of talent at the guard position with returning players like Chris Wiedenhoeft, Bryce Coyle, and Terry LaBelle.
He also alluded to the addition of junior scoring star Evan Woodland as possibly helping to fill a hole at the forward position.