OAK PARK HEIGHTS — White Bear Lake used a flurry of second-half 3-pointers to charge back from behind for a 59-58 Suburban East Conference boys’ basketball victory on Friday at Stillwater Area High School.
It was the first loss of the season for the Ponies (1-1 SEC, 4-1), who squandered a nine-point halftime lead while being held to a season-low point total against a team that was giving up more than 75 points coming into Friday’s game.
“I didn’t think we had any energy the whole game,” Stillwater coach Randy Jordan said. “It was a hard loss. I think we’re a much better ball club, but we didn’t show it tonight. If you don’t show up to play in this league you’re not going to win many games.”
The Bears (1-1, 3-3) trailed 41-35 with less than 13 minutes remaining, but drained four 3-pointers over the next four minutes, including two by Stevie Hjelmberg — the second of which provided a 49-47 lead with eight minutes left in the game.
Stillwater answered with an 8-0 run that included a 3-pointer by Tony Lennox and a nifty pass from Sam Lagus to set up a dunk by Joe Quinn for a 55-49 advantage. The Bears hit two more from long range during a 10-2 run that provided a 59-57 lead. Lagus hit a free throw to pull Stillwater within one, but the Ponies were unable to convert in the final seconds as the Bears prevailed with the upset.
White Bear Lake finished with eight 3-pointers and six came during the last 13 minutes of the game, during a stretch where the Bears made just two field goals from inside the arc.
“That’s their game,” Jordan said. “That’s what their bread and butter is, to shoot the three. We just didn’t get out on them and we didn’t communicate coming in and out of the game who had who.”
Beau Smit finished with 16 points to lead all scorers and Hjelmberg finished with 15 for the Bears.
Andrew Duxbury made just one field goal but finished with 12 points to lead the balanced Ponies, who also received eight points apiece from Chad Schlosser and Kyle McKinley.
“Right now I like our rotation, I really do, but tonight we just didn’t make plays,” Jordan said.
White Bear Lake 24 35 — 59
Stillwater 33 25 — 58
White Bear Lake (pts): Alex Roast 5, Connor Koll 5, Pat Mulvaney 3, Beau Smit 16, Tanner Hinck 8, Bernard Vinson 1, Stevie Hjelmberg 15, Brett Pulczinski 2 and Connor Bosch 4.
Stillwater: Sam Lagus 7, Andrew Duxbury 12, Nick Ogren 3, Tony Lennox 5, Joe Quinn 4, Matt Anderson 7, Chad Schlosser 8, Kyle McKinley 8 and Joel Malwitz 5.
3-pointers: WBL (8): Smit, Koll, Hinck 2, Hjelmberg 3 and Rost; St (4): Lagus 2, Ogren and Lennox.
Free throws: WBL, 9-15; St, 14-19.