Published Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 12:49 am
Bertrand erases 12-point deficit to win in OT

BERTRAND — Bertrand, trailing by 12 points midway through the third quarter, rallied to beat Cambridge 80-67 in overtime Tuesday night to advance to the East Division Championship in the Republican Plains Activity Conference.

The Vikings (10-5) will meet Southern Valley (13-2) Friday night in Cambridge to determine who will advance to play the West Division champion Saturday at Southern Valley.

Robert Edgren scored 29 points and Jake Samuelson added 26 points to lead the Vikings to the divisional final for the first time since the Republican Valley League and Golden Plains Activities Conference merged in 2007.

When Cambridge (9-6) came out in the second half with Weston Rich hitting a 3-point shot and Vance Johnson completing a 3-point play, it didn’t appear Bertrand would advance this year, either. When Jake Witte hit a 3-pointer with 4:44 left in the third quarter, Cambridge had a 40-28 lead.

But back-to-back steals by Edgren and Samuelson turned into easy layups and the Vikings started their comeback.

"They realize the sense of urgency sometimes, and when it comes time to get going, they’re the ones that get us moving,” Bertrand coach Craig Newcomb said.

Bertrand outscored Cambridge 16-6 the rest of the third quarter to pull within two. A change to man-to-man defense triggered the rally.

“It brought our energy level up. That’s what we were lacking. Once we brought our energy up and started getting in a rhythm, that’s when these guys play pretty well,” Newcomb said.

Cambridge coach Jimmy Blex said, “It won them the game, I think. It made us play a different pace and put a lot of pressure on us and we struggled from there.”

After committing three turnovers the first half, the Trojans committed 10 in the third quarter. Part of the reason was the absence of starting point guard Taylor Kubik, out with illness.

"That kind of hurt us a little bit. We played a little out of character,” Blex said.

Bertrand’s quickness and aggressiveness took care of the rest.

“We had to do something to create our own transition baskets,” Newcomb said. “We don’t have a lot of size, but we have one of the quickest teams and we’re able to get some steals on ball-handling errors or whether it’s stealing the pass. We have to use that, but with our depth we can’t necessarily do that for 32 minutes, so we have to pick and choose when we do that.”

The Vikings took the lead in the game’s final minute, but a follow-shot basket by Rich, who finished with 14 points, tied the score with one second left and sent the game to overtime.

But Cambridge couldn’t take advantage of that momentum boost.

“When our kids came off the floor, they said, ‘We’ve been here before.’ This is our third or fourth overtime and, being down 12, for us to get to overtime was probably a good thing. So we were as happy to be there as they were,” Newcomb said.

Dakota Fitzgerald, who finished with 14 points, got the Vikings out on top with a 3-pointer 13 seconds into the overtime. Edgren followed with a 3-pointer of his own and Bertrand went on to outscore the Trojans 17-4 in the overtime.

Witte paced Cambridge with 21 points, while Evan Jones, who replaced Kubik in the starting lineup, scored 14. All but three of Jones’ points came in the first half.

Bertrand 80, Cambridge 67 (OT)

Jake Witte 9-22 1-2 21, Ryan Rice 1-9 2-2 4, Evan Jones 5-11 0-0 14, Alex Burke 4-6 0-3 8, Weston Rich 6-9 1-3 14, Vance Johnson 2-5 2-5 6. Total 27-62 6-15 67.

Tyrell Younger 3-9 1-3 7, Dakota Fitzgerald 6-12 0-3 14, Jake Samuelson 10-15 3-6 26, Cooper Grabenstein 1-2 0-0 2, Robert Edgren 11-20 5-10 29, Jared Kugler 1-4 0-0 2. Total 32-62 9-22 80.

Score by Quarters
CAMBRIDGE 14 15 17 17 4 — 67
BERTRAND 13 12 19 19 17 — 80

3-point goals — CHS 7-24 (Jones 4-9, Witte 2-6, Rich 1-3, Rice 0-4, Johnson 0-2), BHS 7-18 (Samuelson 3-7, Fitzgerald 2-6, Edgren 2-3, Grabenstein 0-1, Kugler 0-1). Rebounds — CHS 41 (Rich 11), BHS 48 (Younger 8). Total fouls — CHS 18, BHS 14. Fouled out — Burke. Assists — CHS 9 (Rice 5), BHS 15 (Edgren 8). Turnovers — CHS 19, BHS 13. Steals — CHS 4 (Witte 2), BHS 8 (Younger 3, Samuelson 3).

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