Missed free throws and last second heroics were all part of an exciting win for the Dell Rapids St. Mary Cardinals over the Chester Area Flyers on Monday, December 17th. The Cardinals rallied from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a 61-59 overtime win at Chester Area High School.
The Cardinals held the early lead in the game after the first quarter. St. Mary led by three points at 20-17. Chester Area then held St. Mary to just six points in the second quarter and took a 37-26 lead into halftime. Both teams scored 15 points in the third quarter, and the Flyers still held their 11-point lead at 52-41 heading into the final quarter.
St. Mary’s defense did hold the Flyers to just three points in the final quarter, but missed free throws by Chester Area left the door open for the Cardinals late in the game. Chester led 52-45 with two minutes to go in the game. Connor Libis knocked down a baseline jumper with 1:45 to cut the lead to five points. With 1:25 to go, Bayden Schneider made one of two free throws to make it a 53-47 game. Libis made a long three-point shot moments later to cut the lad to 53-50. After a steal, Ethan Geraets made two free throws with under a minute to go to pull the Cardinals within a point, 53-52.
The Flyers were called for an offensive foul while in-bounding the basketball, but the Cardinals couldn’t capitalize. A missed shot was rebounded by Chester. E. Geraets was called for a reach-in foul on the inbound, but also took an elbow to the jaw which resulted in a flagrant foul by Chester. Schneider made both free throws awarded to him because of a bonus, and Libis went one of two on the flagrant foul free throws. Chester led 55-52 with :31 to go. A missed shot by St. Mary went out of bounds to Chester with :17.5 to go. The Cardinals fouled six seconds later sending Brock Wages to the free throw line. Wages missed both free throws, which kept the lead at three points. Connar Kangas was given the ball at the top of the key with :03 to go, took two dribbles to the right wing, and launched a three-point shot at the buzzer that went in tying the game at 55-55.
St. Mary took the early lead at 57-55 in overtime. Chester tied the game 57-57 with two free throws. Libis hit another baseline jumper to give the Cardinals the lead again at 59-57. Chester went one of two from the free-throw line with just under 3:00 to go to make it a one-point game. Weston Geraets gave St. Mary a two-point lead after a one-for-two trip to the free-throw line. Neither team scored again until :55 to go when Chester again made one of two free throws to make it a 60-59 game. With :09 to go, Stratton Eppard was sent to the free-throw line on a close block/charge call that went against the Cardinals. Eppard missed both free throws, and W. Geraets grabbed the rebound and was fouled. W. Geraets made one of two free throws, and the Cardinals held on for a 61-59 win after a missed last-second three point shot by the Flyers.
Chester finished the game with zero field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Flyers finished the game shooting 18-32 from the free-throw line, while the Cardinals were 11-18.
Libis had 21 points in the game to lead all scorers. Kangas finished with 12 points, and W. Geraets added 11 points. W. Geraets also led the team in rebounds with six in the game. Sam Palmer had a team-high four assists. The Flyers were led in scoring by Chris Mohr with 18 points.
St. Mary (4-0) will look to remain unbeaten when they host Estelline/Hendricks on Friday, December 21st. The game can be seen on Big Sioux Media.