The Inman Teutons beat 13-time Burrton Basketball Invitational champion Berean Academy 44-43 with an effective defensive effort to capture Saturday’s championship.
Inman’s Josh Miller, the Ralph Butler Most Valuable Player, led the Teutons’ effort with three key steals that led to seven points.
His second steal led to a 3-point play and a 35-29 lead. His third steal was converted by Tyler Cottam’s rebound basket for a 42-31 lead with just over three minutes left.
“I was a little surprised they named me MVP,” Miller said. “It could’ve been any of our guys. I was looking for them to commit to a pass, then step up in the passing lane. They were all big plays. That was a good victory for us.”
Inman (8-5) needed every point when the Warriors executed flawlessly over the final three minutes. Clark Busenitz scored and Loren Pearce followed with three free throws to slice the lead to 42-36. Miller’s assist to Cottam was waved off on a charging foul.
Kameron Wiebe passed to Dallas Wiebe for a 3-pointer to cut the margin to 42-39 with 1:26 left. Miller finished off 6–of-6 foul shooting for a 44-39 lead with 1:03 left.
Berean’s T.J. Guhr followed with a driving basket and Kameron Wiebe’s fourth rebound basket made it 44-43 with 22 seconds left. Cottam’s missed free throw with 17 seconds gave the Warriors’ a chance for their third consecutive Burrton championship.
The Teutons’ defense stopped penetration and Dallas Wiebe’s 3-point attempt bounced off the rim, triggering Inman’s celebration.
“It was two great basketball teams competing, and a great basketball game,” said Inman coach Brett Froese. “When we got the lead that fourth quarter, we played it aggressive like we wanted, but Berean made a couple of shots. Our defense saved us tonight.”
Berean coach Lewis Wiebe said the Warriors (7-5) were happy to get a chance of winning after trailing by 11 points.
“We wanted to penetrate and kick it out if we didn’t get to the basket,” Wiebe said. “We had a chance at the end and that’s all you can ask.”
After five ties and lead changes, the Teutons started the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run. Justin Friesen hit a bank shot and 3-pointer sandwiched around Miller’s 3-point play. Cottam scored on a driving shot and rebounded Miller’s miss off a steal for a 42-31 lead.
“We had that stretch where we executed our offense a few times and we needed every point,” Froese said.
Miller and Freisen each scored 10 points and All-Tournament Cottam chipped in nine points. Inman converted 15 of 32 field goals and 10 of 14 free throws with 13 turnovers.
Inman’s zone defense gave the Warriors more trouble than the Teutons’ man-to-man. The Warriors finished 17 of 47 from the field with 12 turnovers. All-tournament Pearce led the Warriors with 15 points and Dallas Wiebe netted 11 points.
“Our zone worked really well, so we ended up playing 60 percent zone,” Froese said. “We pushed them out to the perimeter and stopped their penetration.”
Coach Wiebe said the Teutons’ zone kept the Warriors’ off balance.
“Their zone gave us more trouble. No matter whether it’s man or zone, you’ve got to execute,” Wiebe said. “We didn’t get into a rhythm. Our goal is to execute our offense better than that.”
The Warriors sprinted to a 7-0 lead in the first six minutes when the Teutons missed their first six field goals and committed four turnovers.
Inman rallied for a 20-17 halftime lead, but Berean’s Kameron Wiebe achieved the distinction of converting buzzer-beating field goals to end the first two periods.
* Little River 60, Pretty Prairie 42 (Third place) – Little River coasted past Pretty Prairie to capture third place. All-tournament Tevin Rankin paced the Redskins with 19 points and Chet Cordell (12) and all-tournament Dalton Konen (11) both scored in double figures.
All-tournament Stetson Broce led the Bulldogs with 14 points and Justin Halfrich and Trey Tallent each added 11 points.
* Central Christian 60, Goessel 40 (Fifth place) – Central Christian avenged an early-season loss to Goessel with a dominating fifth-place victory. All-tournament Kyle Patrick led the Cougars with 17 points and 6-foot-9 Jared Starkey chipped in 12 points and Ben Krehbiel added 11 points.
All-tournament Davis Cook scored 16 points. Goessel’s Shane Goerzen was earned the Bruce Lyman Most Inspirational Player Award.
* Fairfield 59, Burrton 53 (Seventh place) – Fairfield’s Trace Bayse scored 16 points and Ryan Ewy added 13 points as the Falcons captured seventh place. The Falcons (7-6) led 30-20 at halftime and held off the Chargers’ fourth-quarter rally. Fairfield’s John Dealy was named all-tournament.
All-tournament Trae Lane led Burrton (2-10) with 16 points and Caleb Hurst added 13 points.