Orono just had a knack for winning close games this season. The four times they lost they lost big. But when the Orono Spartans fought to the final minutes with an opponent they always found a way to win. In the Class AAAA state title game Columbia Heights continually fought back but once again the Spartans had the toughness to pull out the W.
After a five minute feel out process produced only a couple field goals each Chase Myhran and Rodrick Logan became entangled during a loose ball. The confrontation went from simple competitive to feisty nasty when Logan shoved Myhran and earned a technical foul. Seconds later Jordan Smith drained a pair of free throws and Orono built some momentum. Then the Hylanders seemed to lose their nerve for a few minutes as Orono went on a 9-0 run punctuated by a Brady Wohler trey.
After scoring only 14 points and shooting 4 of 18 in the previous two games the three-pointer seemed to spark Brady. What also helped is Wohler's open floor ability and in a game where quality defensive help had been scarce there was room for him to get up and down. He would later hit a second three, spin off a defender in transition to score, and produce with an old fashioned three point play.
Orono built their lead to as many as eight points but a tough offensive whistle on Jordan Smith put him on the bench with three fouls. The Spartans were able to get enough point production from Wohler and Jeremy Borg to maintain their lead but the Hylanders closed the gap. Active play from Jordan Mills and Keanu Glover resulted in five putback scores and 13 points from the pair. Orono took a 34-32 lead into the first half.
The next six minutes of the contest were evenly played but there was one very important factor in the flow of the game. Columbia Heights put on a full court press and in a loose ball scramble Zach Lofton was whistled for a reaching violation. At the time it didn't seem like a big deal but a couple possessions later Lofton attacked the lane and an offensive foul was called when an Orono defender beat Zach to the spot. The official blew the correct charge violation call and Zach was in foul trouble.
Lofton then sat for the next six minutes and a tie game at 47 moved to 70-57 at the point Zach re-entered. Within that time frame Brady Wohler continued to get to the rim to score and Myhran sunk a vital three-pointer.
Ignited by the re-entrance of Lofton (along with hard working defenders Deon Sanstad and Sami Hadzajilic) Columbia Heights once again threw on the full court attack. Zach attacked the cup, was fouled at the rim, and made two free throws. Ben Glover isolated an Orono defender on the wing and beat him to the middle for two pull-up jumpers, and then Lofton stripped a Spartan of the ball, scored, was fouled, and made the free throw. Columbia Heights went on a 9-0 run and the Orono lead as cut to 70-66.
Orono lost composure and needed a time-out. Inside of the team huddle Coach Barry Wohler re-focused his team and the momentum of the game switched yet again. Orono sliced through the Hylander pressure and Borg was freed for a couple lay-ups. Then Columbia Heights had to foul and Jordan Smith put the game away making several free throws (10 of 10 for the game).
Wohler made 10 of 19 shots and scored 23 points to lead Orono while Smith had 21 including the perfect free throw shooting performance. Jeremy Borg totaled 19 points, seven rebounds, and seven blocks and Erik Peterson ha a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
For Columbia Heights Lofton led with 19 points on 6 of 18 shooting and Ben Glover scored 22 points making 7 of 22 attempts. Jordan Mills produced a double-double of 17 points and 11 boards while Keanu Glover had 12 points.