Abel’s game-winning shot at buzzer lifts ORCS

Al Christianson/Photo special to the MDN Our Redeemer's senior Noah Abel (3) makes the game-winning shot over Beulah's Derek Ferebee (12) in a Class B boys basketball game played Saturday evening at the Minot Municipal Auditorium. The Knights won 61-60.

The crowd erupted as Beulah inbounded the ball with with 15 seconds left. The scoreboard read 59-58 favoring Our Redeemer’s. Beulah’s Jacob Weigel worked his way to the basket and converted what the Beulah crowd thought could only be the go-ahead shot.

Noah Abel and the Our Redeemer’s boys basketball team had other ideas.

With Beulah leading 60-59, ORCS head coach Mark LaCroix could be heard across the court calling for his team to get back. The clock counted down from six as the Knights inbounded. Abel stormed forward and did the only thing a player can with 3 seconds on the clock–take the shot.

He pulled up and lifted a shot behind the elbow with two, one and the buzzer. The shot found its way in and elation quickly set in. After an uphill battle, the Knights rose as the victors over the Miners, 61-60.

The players on the bench stormed the court, everyone embracing as the Knights stole a victory thanks to Abel.

“Noah Abel was just being a team captain and getting us set,” LaCroix said. “This is a very tough Beulah team and we’re very happy to get a victory out of them.”

Very happy he should be, as the first half looked to be completely in Beulah’s favor. At the end of the first Beulah was up 20-14 and halfway through the second they went 10 up on the Knights to 27-17.

This lit a fire in the Knights as they were falling behind fast. With strong shooting efforts from Leyton Lang and Abel, the Knights began to close in on the Miners, though they were still down. Going into the half Beulah was up 35-32.

“(We were) a little slow defensively, didn’t really talk right away,” LaCroix said. “But we made adjustments as the game went on and those guys really picked it up in the second half which is a really good sign.”

Senior guard Jayden Wetzel spent the entire game on the floor for the Knights, guarding the Miners’ best player. Wetzel was quick up and down the court, and even helped the scoring effort putting up six points overall for the Knights.

Lang tried to bring some dunks to the game with varying success, but there was no denying he was an animal on offense.

“Leyton Lang stayed composed the whole game, he was an offensive bulldog and he kind of carried us all night,” LaCroix said.

In the third, the Knights were able to tie up the game with key shots from Abel, Lang and Noah Olthoff.

Wetzel was able to grab the ball from the Miners’ grasp on multiple occasions, keeping the ball with the Knights as much as possible. The Knights went into the fourth up 52-50.

Matthew Hendrickson showed up with a layup right away in the fourth, but that was almost it for minutes. The ball went back and forth on the court with no shots to show for it.

The Knights’ pressuring defense kept the Miners at bay, while a few mistakes hindered their own efforts.

Leyton and Hendrickson were key scorers in the fourth, keeping ahead the Miners until Abel was able to make the game winning shot.

“Noah Abel, thank you for making that shot,” LaCroix said after all was said and done.

The Knights are back in action Friday at home against Dickinson Trinity.