STOVER — Down by as many as nine, Cole Camp stormed back to beat Stoutland 57-55 Thursday in the semifinal of the Stover Tournament.
The Bluebirds used a 13-1 run in the fourth quarter to take a 57-51 lead. Stoutland hit two quick baskets in the final minute and after a missed free throw, had a chance to tie or win the game with one second left, but Levi Hare intercepted the pass near mid-court.
“We’re a fighting team and when it comes down to crunch time, we can win,” said Cole Camp senior Unser Brockman.
Stoutland’s Jesse Hubbs hit a pair of baskets early in the third quarter to put the Tigers ahead 41-32. Baskets by Hare, Alex Pritzel and Austin Berendzen cut the lead to three and Stoutland led 46-42 after three.
Stoutland led 50-44 early in the fourth after Hubbs took a long rebound and got a layup in transition, but Cole Camp came storming back. Brady Smith hit a basket in the paint. Brockman hit a jumper off an offensive rebound. With 4:03 left in the game, Smith came up with a steal and fed Berendzen for a layup. A basket and two free throws from Brockman gave the Bluebirds their biggest lead of the night moments later.
“They put out a lot of effort and played really good, a lot of confidence and didn’t back down,” Pritzel said. “I knew we would come back. We don’t give up that easily.”
During the 13-1 run, Stoutland was 0 for 9 shooting from the field. Meanwhile, Cole Camp shot 4 of 7 in that stretch, getting offensive rebounds on two of the misses for second-chance points, and scored all three from close range.
“We’re not going to come out and shoot three or four 3-pointers and all of a sudden we’re ahead,” said Cole Camp coach Dan Schnell. “We had to kind of grind it out. These guys have shown to do that numerous times already this season in close ballgames. This time we were able to get that lead and hold on to it at the end.”
Hubbs finished with 17 points to lead Stoutland, using his strength to muscle past Cole Camp’s low-post defenders.
“I wish he was playing defensive end for our football team,” Schnell said. “When you’re talking about upper-body strength with all that power in his legs, he’s a good ball player. Through the first half, he was able to be a lot more effective. In the fourth quarter we were able to shift a little better and deny him passes.”
Pritzel finished with 22 points for the Bluebirds, scoring 11 in each half. Brockman scored 13.
Cole Camp will play for the tournament championship at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles