St. Cloud Cathedral and Esko have grown accustomed to taking each other's best shot through the years. Wednesday they took it to a greater level.
Junior guard Nick Schaefer's two tiebreaking free throws with 1 minute, 25 seconds left in the third overtime lifted the Crusaders to a 64-60 victory in the Class 2A quarterfinals at Target Center. Schaefer paced four Crusaders in double figures with 18 points.
"That was a wild one," Crusaders coach Matt Meyer said. "They have become the cardiac kids."
The Crusaders (26-5) had made the last shot in the previous two overtimes. Junior guard Jackson Jangula hit a three-pointer with one minute left in the second overtime. Senior forward Mitchell Plombon sank a three-pointer with 11 seconds left in the first one.
Plombon was under the basket as Eskomos guard Camden Berger's driving layup as well as center Adam Trapp's tip rolled off at the buzzer of the first overtime.
"That was scary," Plombon said. "I just kept saying, 'Please, don't go in. Please, don't go in.' "
The 7-3 Trapp, who had 16 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots, said, "That was a tough shot to miss. It just didn't fall this time."
The Eskomos (26-5) tied it at 43-all at the end of regulation on senior guard Quinn Fischer's jumper with 1:24 left. Fischer had a team-high 18 points.
Esko won by three points over the Crusaders earlier this season in overtime at home. St. Cloud Cathedral prevailed by one at home last season.