Mora Senior Adam Burgess is swamped by his teammates after dropping the winning shot against No. 1-ranked St. Cloud Cathedral Tuesday, Feb. 12. Photo by Trevor Cokley
Jesse Logan firstname.lastname@example.org
A memorable season may have had its most memorable moment this past week for the Mora Mustangs’ boys’ basketball team. Not only did they beat the No. 1-ranked team in the State in Class AA, but they did so on a shot at the buzzer. Later in the week, the Mustangs would also pull out a close game and with the win they would improve to 17-3.
Mora 75, Albany 71
The game against Albany was a very physical one. Mora got off to a great start that helped carry them through the rest of the game. The Mustangs came out playing very stingy defense and effective on offense for the first 10 minutes. Mora looked strong early in this one, played on Friday, Feb. 15. The Mustangs were up 42-28 at the break.
Some foul trouble for the Mustangs combined with some hot shooting by Albany allowed the Huskies to get back into the game little by little. Albany shaved 10 points off of Mora’s lead in that second half, but the Mustangs were able to hold them off. Coach Jamie Wright was proud of the way his team battled.
“It is not my habit to single out Jon Burrow,” Wright said of his senior, “but he did another great job on the opponents best player, he worked very hard and made it difficult for that player to even touch the ball. With all of our foul trouble, our bench also had to play some very important minutes.”
Sam Johnson had another big night in the scoring column with 26 points. Cody Cottingham had 14 and Adam Burgess had 13. However, it was the five points Burgess scored earlier in the week against St. Cloud Cathedral that had the town of Mora buzzing.
Mora 71, St. Cloud Cathedral 69
When the Crusaders came to town, they were ranked No. 1 in the State in Class AA and boasted an intimidating lineup. With talented guards who can score the ball and a 7-footer in the lane, Cathedral is a tough load to handle. The Mustangs had lost by 10 in the previous meeting, but looked to avenge that loss in this game, which was in Mora on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Cathedral had a swagger early in the game and although Mora was ready to play, dealing with big man Connor Voss is no easy task. Voss was a tough guy to box out and slowing him down at the rim was not easy. He attempted several dunks in the first half, but Mora’s physicality meant that nothing was coming easy on this night.
In one exchange, Mustangs’ junior Greg Mork got his arms tangled in Voss’ legs while going for a loose ball. Voss hit the ground in what amounted to be a statement moment; Mork’s move was basically a single-leg takedown. The Crusaders could see that although the Mustangs may not have had a guy big enough to match Voss’ height, they were bringing the intensity.
Trailing by as many as seven in the first half, the Mustangs rallied and held a 35-34 lead at the break. The second half was equally intense with each team trading big shots. Late in the ballgame, each team was called for critical charges and for a moment it looked as if this one may slip away. As fate would have it, the Mustangs got the ball for one last attempt in regulation; side-out with 10 seconds remaining.
“The play we drew up had Burgess going deep into the backcourt to get the inbounds,” recounted Coach Wright. “We wanted him to waste a little time bringing it up the floor. We called for a ball screen at the top of the key and Adam came around it to the right. We had Johnson in the corner, so we knew they’d have to make a choice; collapse on Burgess and leave Sam, or leave Adam one-on-one. It worked out.”
Burgess did exactly as instructed, and when he rounded the screen he shot a high-arcing right-hander just before the buzzer. When the ball went through the net, the crowd and the team stormed the court. In a season filled with big wins, this seemed like the biggest.
“I’ll remember this moment,” said Burgess excitedly in the pandemonium on the floor afterward.
So will everyone else that was there.
Burrow was the high man for Mora with 22 points and three made threes. Johnson had 20 and Justin O’bert had 10. Although Burgess had just five points, that final basket was the most important shot of the night. It propelled the Mustangs to No. 6 in the State in Class AA.