MINNEAPOLIS — Staring down a 60-59 deficit with only eight seconds remaining, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton senior Owen Leach’s clutch free throws helped lift the Rebels to an eventual 63-61 upset victory over No. 3 seed Plainview-Elgin-Millville in the quarterfinal round of the Class AA state tournament Tuesday at Williams Arena.
Leach hit two free throws to put DGF up 61-60 with eight seconds to play. After being fouled seconds later, the Rebels' Drew Sheeley also sank two foul shots with five seconds left for a three-point edge.
P-E-M's Nicholas Wozney was intentionally fouled with three seconds to play. He made the first, missed the second to try set up a shot to tie but DGF controlled the rebound and missed Rebels free throws with two ticks remaining left the Bulldogs no time to get up another shot.
The win vaults DGF (25-6) into the semifinals where they will take on No. 2 seed Albany (30-1) at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Friday, at 8 p.m.
The Bulldogs (26-5) fall to the consolation bracket where they’ll face Pequot Lakes at Concordia University in St. Paul on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Early in the first half, the Bulldogs showcased their scrappy play on defense beginning with a tone-setting block by Southwest Minnesota State University-bound senior Aeron Stevens on Leach to spoil the Rebels opening trip down the floor.
The 6-foot-7 PEM forward collected three steals to go along with a team-high eight points in the first half and helped guide his club to an early 8-6 advantage three minutes into the contest.
First half leading-scorers Drew Sheeley and Leach combined to provide the response for the Rebels in pushing their team to a short lived 13-12 advantage at the midway point before halftime. Leach closed out the half with nine points, while Sheeley added eight.
Momentum quickly shifted back into the Bulldogs’ favor down the stretch after an 8-0 run —highlighted by a 3-pointer and a fast break dunk by Stevens — made it 19-13.
In need of an answer, Leach helped stop the bleeding with a four-point play before halftime to snap a nearly four-minute drought without a basket as the Rebels trailed by only one at the break, 25-24.
DGF as a team shot 35% on 7-for-20 shooting from the field in the opening 18 minutes. The Bulldogs finished 9-for-24 from the field (37.5%).
Both teams found their shooting rhythm from long range out of the break as Bulldogs’ Brady Herber opened the scoring with his first of two 3-pointers in the opening minute after completing a three-point play moments earlier. PEM finished the game 8-for-21 from beyond the arc and 46.5% overall from the field.
The Rebels, who shot a lights-out 63% in the second half, including 6-for-10 (60%) from 3-point range, had an answer for every big shot made by PEM in a back-and-forth scoring display. Leach led the way with 20 of his game-high 28 points coming in the second half including four made field goals from deep.
With both offenses firing on all cylinders prompting multiple lead changes, the contest came down to the final minute of play where Leach emerged as the hero with the pair of decisive free throws to put his club in front for the last time.
DGF — Drew Sheeley 10, Owen Leach 28, Grant Anderson 5, Karsen Steichen 5, Austin Anderson 4, Brody Friend 3, Peyton Aas 2, Cayson Bergee 6 Totals 19 16-22 63.