The Zimmerman Thunder went four overtimes to beat the Cloquet Lumberjacks 80-79 at home on Friday evening, with Jake Wilson’s basket with two seconds left in the final OT settling the issue.
The Thunder (1-1) rallied from seven points down in the final two minutes of regulation, tying the score 65-65 on Ethan Luing’s driving layup just before the buzzer.
Wilson scored 27 points, Max McNulty 16, Brandon Sevre 14 and Kristian Bright 13 for the Thunder.
Adam Laine, a nimble 6-foot-7 1/2 junior, powered Cloquet (0-2) with 32 points and 15 rebounds.
“Both teams had a ton of chances to win it,” said Zimmerman coach Ben Kvidt. “We missed a lot of free throws (in the second half). We could have won it several times.”
Cloquet tied the score on a putback of a missed three-pointer at the buzzer in the first overtime. The Thunder had the last chance in the second OT with an inbounds play under their basket but missed an 18-footer from the corner.
In the fourth OT, the Thunder had an inbounds play from the side with six seconds left, trailing 79-78. Wilson, 6-foot-4 senior forward, drove into the lane and sank a runner for the game-winner.
Cloquet has two 6-foot-7 players, the other being sophomore Aaron Johnson, a transfer student who was playing his first game for the Lumberjacks. Johnson had foul trouble and was held to six points but blocked several shots and impressed Kvidt with his athletic ability.
“Watching them in warmups, I was pretty nervous about how to stop them,” said Kvidt, who has a small team. “Our guards did an amazing job collapsing on (Laine). He got 32 but we made it hard for him. Their guards were struggling from the outside and we laid back from them.”
Good outside shooting kept the Thunder in the game. Sevre came off the bench to hit a couple big 3-pointers in the first half.
The Thunder were 1-for-7 on free throws in the second half, but made 14 of 17 in the overtimes and finished 19-for-31. Cloquet also missed chances, making 11 of 19.
The Thunder will face another section rival next Friday in Hibbing.
Zimmerman scoring — Jake Wilson 27 (11-14 FT), Max McNulty 16 (5-7 FT), Brandon Sevre 14, Kristian Bright 13, Ethan Luing 6, Noah Lunning 2, Tyler Lorden 2