The Forest Lake basketball boys had an eventful night last Tuesday hosting an improved Hastings squad, but were able to pull out the win in overtime.
It was a tie game at halftime and continued to be a back-and-forth battle. The Rangers pushed ahead for a 60-51 lead with 3:23 remaining in the game. The Raiders refused go away easily, though, and hit some long shots to go on a 15-6 to tie things up at 66 with 53 seconds remaining.
Following a Forest Lake timeout and inbound pass from senior Sklyer Winning, the home team ran the clock down in time for a final play. With nine seconds left, junior Connor Knutson drove the lane, but was unable to convert the shot due to heavy defense in the lane.
In the four-minute overtime period, Hastings took advantage of its first possession with a 3-pointer to go ahead, 69-66. With 2:51 remaining, senior Matt Degendorfer drove the left side for a tear drop layup to bring the Rangers within one point. The Raiders again tried for a long shot from beyond the arc, but missed. Winning grabbed the rebound, kicked it to Knutson, who ran the length of the floor for a left-handed layup, but was fouled on the shot attempt. Knutson sank both free throws, putting his squad up 70-69 with 1:26 left.
Following a Hastings turnover, sophomore Noah Alm was sent to the line, where he swished both shots as well. Two possessions later, Knutson again visited the free-throw line to make two more, giving the Rangers a 74-69 lead with 36 seconds.
Though Hastings made another long jumper to come within three points with 26 seconds left, Degendorfer sealed the 76-71 win for Forest Lake by driving the right side for two points from the blocks.
Degendorfer led in scoring with 30 points, followed by Alm with 17 and Knutson with 10. Junior Toby Boyer contributed six points while junior Brent Kinder added five.
While last year the Raiders, a young, inexperienced squad finished last in the Suburban East Conference with an overall record of 2-24, they already have three wins this season. Forest Lake’s win over Hastings keeps it just ahead of the Raiders in seventh place in the SEC standings with an overall record of 3-5 (1-3 in SEC).
Cretin-Derham Hall, East Ridge and Roseville are all 4-0 in conference play.
The Rangers played East Ridge on the road Friday night, falling 69-46 to the Raptors.
Next, Forest Lake travels to Tartan for a holiday tournament. The Rangers take on Rogers at 6:15 p.m. at Tartan Friday, Dec. 27.