Trailing 75-71 with just over a minute to play to the first place Kenora Broncos, and with their shooting suddenly going cold, the Muskies looked well on their way to suffering their fifth loss of the season here yesterday.
But the black-and-gold regained their scoring touch down the stretch, getting a three-pointer from Bryce Coyle to pull within one with 1:11 on the clock.
Then, after the Broncos mishandled an inbound pass, Chris Wiedenhoeft became the hero when he sank one from downtown to give the Muskies a 77-75 lead with just 14 seconds remaining.
After Kenora fouled the Muskies twice in desperation in the game’s waning seconds, the Muskies hit three of four free throws to ice the thrilling 80-75 victory.
The win, which allowed the Muskies to finish the regular season at 4-4 while Kenora fell to 7-1, was a huge psychological boost for the black-and-gold heading into the NorWOSSA playoffs tomorrow in Dryden.
They meet the host Eagles in the semi-final, with the winner moving on against first-place Kenora in the final.
"Now we know we can beat them," said Wiedenhoeft, who had 10 points yesterday. "The whole team played great, and defensively we stepped it up."
Despite giving up 75 points, the Muskies played a tough, physical game on defence, especially in the second half, and gave every indication they will pose a serious threat in the playoffs.
"I think it was extremely important for our guys to come out and play like they did," enthused Muskie co-coach Paul Noonan.
Brian Kosowick led the Muskies’ attack with 14 points.
In junior boys’ basketball action here yesterday, the Muskies wrapped up the regular season with a perfect 8-0 record after their 75-62 come-from-behind win over the Broncos.
Trailing 30-28 at the break, the black-and-gold went on a 26-15 run in the third quarter to seal the win. John Sivonen led the way with 24 points while Evan Woodland netted 17.
The Muskies, who posted an 17-1 record overall this season, will await the winner of the Dryden/Kenora semi-final matchup at the NorWOSSA playoffs tomorrow.
< B>< *c>Volleyball
Meanwhile, the Muskie senior girls’ volleyball team narrowly missed picking up their first win of the season yesterday against Kenora.
After taking the first game 15-8, the black-and-gold couldn’t nail down another victory, losing the final two games 16-14 and 15-8.
Co-coach Mike Shute said the team played well despite the loss, adding they "should have won" the match.
"Our serving and passing was excellent but once we lost that second game, which was back-and-forth, we were down in the third," Shute said afterwards.
Shute said the Muskies played their top lineup in the first game but decided to allow all their players to see court time during the match.
But he warned the bench will be shortened in tomorrow’s NorWOSSA semi-final showdown with the Broncos, with the winner advancing to the final against first-place Dryden.
At the other extreme, the Muskie junior girls’ volleyball team ended the regular season with an 8-0 record after taking two of three games yesterday from the visiting Broncos (15-2, 11-15, and 15-12).
The juniors earned a bye into the NorWOSSA final tomorrow by virtue of their first-place finish, and await the winner of the Dryden/Kenora semi-final match.