March 11, 2010

Heartbreak in the capitol city

Heartbreak in the capitol city
Late bucket


“So close.”
Those were the words from Max Cossacks Coach Dennis Fannik as he walked alone, gathering his thoughts down a dimly lit hallway behind the brightly lit court at the Bismarck Civic Center Monday afternoon. His Max Cossacks had just fallen to Bismarck’s Shiloh Christian Skyhawks 54-52 in the opening round of the Region 5 Tournament.
The game pencilled out to be a gigantic task for the Cossacks. Shiloh came in as District 9’s No. 1 seed. Max was District 10’s No. 4 representative. But this day, this game, belonged to the Cossacks – that is, up until the end.
The Cossacks played valiantly early, only to find themselves down 18-11 after the first quarter. Getting their legs, the Cossacks outscored the Skyhawks 17-11 in the second frame to trail by one, 29-28, at intermission.
Max owned the next 12 minutes. The Cossacks outscored Shiloh 13-6 in the third quarter to lead 41-35 after three. With four minutes to play it looked like the Cossacks were in the driver’s seat on their way to a victory with what seemed to be a comfortable 11-point lead, 50-39. Thirty seconds later, the Skyhawks had trimmed the lead to seven, 50-43.
Fannik quickly called a timeout to settle his team. But the press called for by Shiloh’s Coach Mike Dwyer began slowly suffocating the life out of the Cossacks. Shiloh kept pecking away. At the 2:45 mark, following a couple turnovers, the lead was suddenly down to five. Step to the fore Shiloh’s Austin Friesen. There’s a reason for Friesen who coolly canned a trey from the corner. Shiloh was within two. Trying to breathe new life into the Cossacks was senior Connor Slattery who drove the lane for an uncontested lay-up. Max was up by four with 1:15 left in regulation.

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