Class A state tournaments: Schafer’s late FTs put Bismarck High boys in title gameBISMARCK — For the second straight night, Bismarck Century took a lead with a late basket. Only this time, it wasn’t late enough.
By: Greg DeVillers, Forum News Service
BISMARCK — For the second straight night, Bismarck Century took a lead with a late basket. Only this time, it wasn’t late enough.
Taylor Schafer, fouled while attempting a desperation 3-point shot, hit three straight free throws with three-tenths of a second on the clock.
Those points gave Bismarck High a 40-39 win Friday against Century in the semifinals of the Class A boys high school basketball tournament.
“It’s March Madness,” Bismarck coach Steve Miller said. “It’s never over until the buzzer goes off.”
Century’s Tyler Rudolph pulled up off the dribble and swished a 12-footer from the right wing with three seconds left for a 39-37 lead. On the ensuing inbounds, Ben Jolliffe — the quarterback on Bismarck’s state-champion football team — hit Dylan Werner at midcourt with an in-bounds pass. Werner made a quick pass to Schafer on the right sideline, and he was fouled throwing up shot. That sent the junior to the line.
“I was happy to be in that situation,” Schafer said. “All that pressure — I love it. I was a little nervous when I stepped to the line. But I hit the first one and I knew I’d make the other two.”
Schafer’s first shot was a swish. The second bounced on the rim and went in. The third was a swish, giving the Demons their first lead of the game.
And the 3-point shot? “It looked good when it left my hand,” Schafer said. “But I always think my shots are going in.”
In 34 years of high school coaching, Miller said of the finish, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that situation.”
Schafer had 12 points and Troy Hausauer 11 to pace the Demons. Rudolph’s game-high 14 points led Century.
Bismarck fell behind early and played catch-up the entire game.
Century had leads of 10-2 and 20-13 in the first half, but the Demons pulled within 20-19 on a Schafer 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer. In the second half, the Patriots’ biggest lead was 30-22.
Alex Quist drove the lane for a basket with 3:35 left for a 37-34 Patriots lead. But they would go scoreless until Rudolph’s basket with three seconds left. Bismarck, meanwhile, pulled even at 37 when Jolliffe hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:17 left. The Demons would go scoreless until Schafer’s three free throws.
“Our kids are fighters,” Miller said. “They aren’t going to quit when they get behind. And we both expected a game like this.”
C: Tim Wegner 4 0-2 9, Robert Hutchins 2 0-0 4, Dalton Feeney 0 2-2 2, Alex Quist 2 0-0 4, Tyler Rudolph 6 2-2 14, Ben Holen 2 2-4 6. Totals 16-44 6-12 39
B: Tyler Unruh 1 2-2 5, Taylor Schafer 3 4-5 12, Ben Jolliffe 2 2-2 8, Dylan Werner 1 0-0 2, Troy Hausauer 3 3-5 11, Tyler Clairmont 0 2-2 2. Totals 10-41 13-16 40.
Halftime: C 20-19. 3-pointers: Century 1-10 (Wegner 1), Bismarck 7-19 (Jolliffe 2, Schafer 2, Hausauer 2, Unruh 1). Total fouls: C 10, B 8. Rebounds: C 33 (Rudolph 9), B 29 (Hausauer 8); Assists: C 5 (Hutchins 2, Feeney 2), B 7 (Schafer 4).