Entering their final game before the Christmas break on a four-game losing skid, Midland boys basketball coach Dalton Harms sorely wanted to create some positive momentum for his program as the Eagles hosted Calamus-Wheatland Tuesday, Dec. 21.
Not only did the Eagles deliver, but the Midland boys gave Harms and their fans exactly the kind of holiday gift they were hoping for.
A thrilling overtime triumph.
“Wow, did we ever need this,” said Harms, as his team got off to a sensational start and then held off a late Warrior rally to walk of the floor in Wyoming with a huge 70-61 victory.
“We got some much-needed momentum and snapped a losing streak going into the break. Our guys all stepped up with sophomores Cale Crist and Matt Sauer leading the way as Cale made two big 3’s in overtime.”
Midland (3-5, 1-1) appeared ready to run Calamus-Wheatland right off the floor early on as the Eagles raced to a huge 12-0 lead with Crist connecting twice from beyond the arc and helping the hosts to a huge 20-point frame and 11-point lead (20-9).
The Warriors settled in after the rough start and went on a 22-14 spurt of their own in the second stanza to pull within three points of the hosts at the half trailing just 34-31.
The game would stay tight the rest of the way.
“We battled the whole game to win,” Harms said. “Warren (Etten) had a nice first half in his first game back from a concussion and then we hit our free throws in overtime to put the game away.”
Etten, one of the top sharp-shooters in the conference, like Crist connected twice from beyond the 3-point line in the opening quarter.
Midland managed to maintain a lead for most of the third quarter as well before Calamus-Wheatland went on a 9-4 run to end it with a 45-44 lead as Matt Sauer, Etten, Crist and Zain Sauer all scored clutch baskets in the stretch.
The fourth quarter played out much like the previous two, with more back-and-forth action before the two teams ended regulation in a 55-55 tie.
In the overtime, it was the Eagles who dominated going on a game-ending 15-6 spurt keyed by pressure-filled free throw shooting from Matt Sauer, Jamisen Dodge and Zain Sauer.
Crist, who added a huge overtime 3-pointer as well, finished the game with 24 points connecting six timed from beyond the 3-point arc as the Midland scoring woes that had plagued the team over the previous few weeks completely disappeared.
Matt Sauer added a career-high 17-point performance while Etten finished with 12 points. Zain Sauer chipped in with five while Dodge added four more.