As the Knights earned the No. 4 seed for the Section 2A playoffs, Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity received the No. 5 seed as the Knights hosted the Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 29. The winner would advance to face top-seeded BOLD at St. Peter High School on Thursday, March 5.
In what would be a back and forth matchup all night long, the Knights led early 6-5. Carson Domeier later hit two free throws to give the Knights a 10-5 lead. The Knights went on a small run and had some control early on as they extended their lead to 15-7.
With the St. Mary’s defense giving the Bulldogs fits, the Knights held a 19-10 lead as a timeout by LP/HT sent both teams to the benches.
Out of the timeout, the Bulldogs adjusted and went on a 13-7 run to pull within three of the Knights. With just five minutes remaining in the half, the Knights led 26-23.
After a poor start by LP/HT, the Bulldogs were finding their groove as they tied the game up at 26-26 with a pair of free throws from Evan Lee.
The two teams went into halftime as the Knights led a good one at 32-31. A quick 9-2 run at the beginning of the half extended the Knights lead to 41-33. Far from comfortable, the Knights knew the Bulldogs wouldn’t go down easy.
A 12-6 run brought the Bulldogs closer as the Knights now led 47-45 with just a tick below 12 minutes remaining. As time trickled on, missed lay-ups and free throws took over in importance as the Knights led 53-52 with 8:57 left in the half.
Just over two minutes later, the Bulldogs grabbed their first lead of the game at 57-56. With more back and forth action, more ties and lead changes took place as the Knights now trailed 62-60. Nick Labat sank a pair of free throws to tie the game at 62-62 with less than four minutes remaining in regulation.
With back-to-back buckets from the Bulldogs, the Knights found themselves in a four-point deficit as they trailed 66-62 with about three minutes left.
With 2:36 remaining, the Knights tied the game at 66-66. Carson Domeier finished his own 6-0 run as the Knights rode his back and with 1:16 remaining, the Knights now led 68-66.
With a timeout called by St. Mary’s, the Knights came out of the timeout and turned the ball over and LP/HT gave it right back in what seemed to be the dagger. However, with 34.3 seconds remaining, the Knights were sent to the free throw line.
The Knights missed both free throws as they were now in the double bonus, but on the second free throw, the Bulldogs committed a lane violation and gave the Knights another chance to extend their lead. The third free throw was also missed. The Knights ended up missing five straight free throws in the final minute before Labat sank one of two with 0.6 seconds remaining to ice the game for the Knights.
In what was a fantastic high school basketball playoff game, the Knights were led by Labat and Domeier in the points column. Domeier tallied 26 for the Knights as Labat contributed 20 of his own.
The Knights advanced to the Section 2A semi-finals as they now face the No. 1 seeded BOLD Warriors. BOLD carries a record of 26-1 on the season. BOLD defeated Cleveland in their first playoff game by a score of 77-41.