The Phoenix

Fire win in OT thriller vs rival Waconia

After a close game against Delano Thursday night, where the Fire ultimately pulled off a win, the boys basketball team faced off against rival Waconia Friday night. The team started out a little flat, which Coach Thuli attributed to the intense game the night before, but picked up momentum as the game progressed.

Thuli said, “I think the legs were a little tired because of the game last night. And Waconia had not played all week and were a little fresher.”

At halftime HF was down 23-29 and Thuli stated, “after half we were able to get back into the flow of the game. The tiredness kind of went away and adrenaline kicked in.”

In the second half, the team scored 37 points with big contributions from Lincoln Cizek and Nate Hendler. With just a few seconds left in the second half, and the Fire trailing by 3, Holy Family collected a rebound and sprinted up the floor. Ryan Bowlin passed the ball off to Nate Hendler, who sunk a deep three, tying the game at 60-60 at the end of the regulation. Nate’s clutch shot sent the teams to a competitive OT.

Thuli said there was “Never a doubt. Right when he got it I knew it was going in. Same with Brendan’s free throws in overtime.”

With a three-pointer from Cizek in the 4-minute overtime period, the Fire went up 63-60. Waconia tied up the game again with three points from free throws. But, with five points from O’Connor in free throws, the Fire boys pulled off the win, 68-67. Nate Hendler tallied 26 points, Cizek had 15 points, and Griffin Johnson added 6 points.

Captain Nate Hendler attributed the win to the fact that the team “kept battling. Players stepped up. And it was our turn for a lucky finish.”

Captain Lincoln Cizek commented on the Waconia game and his hopes for another tough game this week: “Waconia is always a fun game. We have wanted to beat them for a long time and we finally got it. We always give it our all playing against them. It was nice coming back in the second half and it really showed our composure as a team. We are hoping to bring that same composure into our game against Orono this week.”

After two impressive wins over Delano and Waconia, the boys will be back on the road again this Tuesday against a difficult Orono squad. Their next home game is on Friday the 16th against Delano.

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