Late free throws lift Cathedral to win

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm Cathedral’s Nathan Hauser (30) gets a shot off despite defensive pressure from Cedar Mountain/Comfrey’s Lewis Pendleton during the second half Friday at CHS. For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com

NEW ULM — It’s a scenario everyone who’s ever picked up a basketball has dreamed of.

Down by 1 point with 17 seconds left, New Ulm Cathedral’s Nathan Hauser went to the free throw line and calmly sank two free throws to give his team a 64-63 lead against Cedar Mountain/Comfrey.

After a timeout, CM/C turned the ball over as it was going for a potential game-winning basket. Hauser was fouled late again and hit two more free throws as the Greyhounds won 66-63 in Tomahawk Conference boys’ basketball.

Hauser led the Greyhounds with 18 points. None were bigger than the two from the free throw line with 17 seconds left and the game on the line. It was especially big because he watched one of his teammates, David Berg, leave the game with a leg injury in the second half.

“I’m just thinking, ‘I gotta make these,'” Hauser said. “Just for my teammates and especially for David, seeing a guy go out like that is tough.”

In yet another balanced scoring attack by the Greyhounds, Alex Hillesheim scored 14 points. Jon Zinniel and James Gillis each scored 11 and Jacob Manderfeld finished with 10 points.

Senior Dylan Hillesheim had a big second half for the Cougars, leading the way with 21 points. He gave the Cougars a brief lead at 63-62 with 23 seconds left in the game before Hauser’s free throws.

The Cougars trailed most of the game and the entire second half until a 7-0 run highlighted by Hillesheim’s second dunk of the game made it 57-51. Lewis Pendleton also had a 3-pointer in that run and he finished with 11 points. Junior Eli Samuelson also hit double figures with 15 points for the Cougars.

The win for the Greyhounds was important because earlier in the week, they beat Minnesota Valley Lutheran on their home floor. The Greyhounds (10-4, 5-1) are in the midst of the race for the top spot in the conference race so this week was especially big for them.

“It’s huge, we beat two really good teams this week,” Hauser said. “MVL, they’re one of the best and same with CM/C. It’s good for our confidence come playoff time.”

The Greyhounds led 36-30 at halftime thanks in part to a strong perimeter game. They hit 8 3-pointers in the half, going up 30-23 on a 3 by Hauser with 2:07 left in the half.

Pendleton and Dylan Hillesheim led a late charge in the half by the Cougars to keep it close at the break.

CM/C (7-4, 2-3) hosts Wabasso on Monday and is at Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s on Tuesday. It also hosts Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop on Thursday.

Cathedral is at Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart on Tuesday and hosts Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s on Friday.

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