Buzzer-beater knocks out Ely boys

by Tom Coombe -

Brandon Barbee's last-second putback ended the Ely Timberwolves' season and their bid for a Section 7A boys basketball tournament upset.

Barbee snared an offensive rebound and scored just as time expired, capping off an 8-0 Lakeview Christian Academy run in the last three minutes and giving his Lions a 62-60 7A quarterfinal win Saturday night at Romano Gymnasium on the campus of the University of MInnesota-Duluth.

The sixth-seeded Wolves, who finished 17-11, led for much of the game and went up 60-54 with 2:48 left.

But the Wolves never took another shot and turnovers were deadly down the home stretch.

Barbee tied it up with 1:25 left and the Wolves soon turned the ball over, allowing the third-seeded Lions to hold for the last shot.

The late collapse spoiled a spirited effort by the Wolves, who fell 67-51 to LCA during the regular season and played without injured starting guard Eric Omerza.

Senior Patrick Vanderbeek, who closed out a dynamic prep career, finished with 21 points and five assists for the Wolves while junior Dylan Fenske had a double-double, scoring 19 points and adding 13 rebounds. Senior Trevor Mattson had 13 points and eight rebounds.

LCA advanced to meet seventh-seeded Cook County in a Wednesday night 7A semifinal. The other semifinal pits top-seeded North Woods against number-four Deer River.