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Published March 23 2012

Last-second shot vaults Litchfield past Perham at state boys basketball

MINNEAPOLIS – His feet were spaced anticipating what would happen, but the plan didn’t work out for Mike Wiskow.

The plan, however, did work out for Litchfield’s Zach Kinny. With four seconds left, Kinny dribbled down the lane, using a spin move to create separation for a runner. His shot fell as time expired in a 33-31 win over defending champion Perham on Friday in the Class 2A semifinals of the Minnesota state boys basketball tournament at the Target Center.

“I knew it right when I slipped,” Wiskow said. “I saw him go right by me and in slow motion when he took that shot, I screamed, ‘No!’ and then it went in.”

Litchfield (25-5) advances to the state title game today.

Perham (28-3) will play for third place a year after winning the school’s first state title.

Kinny’s game-winner not only ended Perham’s reign, but brought an end to a game that saw offense go on vacation.

Litchfield’s Dylan Koll hit a 3-pointer with 7 minutes, 35 seconds left, tying the game at 31. Koll’s bucket was the last field goal made by either team before Kinny’s buzzer-beater.

“We just knew we wanted to get the last shot,” Kinny said. “We were playing for overtime, but we at least wanted to get the last shot.”

Both teams played keep away for the final five minutes, but each found a way to force a turnover to get a possession.

With 1:24 left, Wiskow went in for a layup and was met by a crowd of Litchfield players. His shot was blocked by Mitch Wollin, giving the Dragons the ball.

“I don’t know how two people got a clean block,” Wiskow said.

Litchfield called two timeouts in the final 53 seconds before Kinny set up at the key prior to making his move for the game-winner.

His move also tarnished a bit of what has been the golden era of basketball for Perham.

Heading into last season, the Yellowjackets had never reached a state final, but in dramatic fashion, they reached the state tournament.

They became Minnesota’s darlings following what happened to Zach Gabbard, who collapsed due to cardiac arrest last season in a game at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.

Perham, with the state in its corner, won the school’s first-ever state title and was hoping to add a second, considering it will lose seven players next season, including its entire starting five.

“We made history at Perham,” said senior captain and point guard Jordan Bruhn, who finished with a team-high eight points. “This team will never be forgotten. I just want people in Perham to know we made history and that’s something we wanted to do.”

PERHAM: Schumacher 3-8 1-1 7 Bruhn 4-9 0-3 8 Wiskow 1-3 0-0 2 Anderson 3-7 0-0 7 Cresap 3-5 0-0 7 Nordick 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-32 1-4 31

LITCHFIELD: Terning 2-7 0-0 4 Kinny 3-9 2-2 8 Whitchurch 3-6 0-2 7 Willin 2-6 0-0 4 Koll 3-4 3-3 8 Larson 0-1 0-0 0 Madsen 0-1 0-0 0 Pater 1-2 0-0 2 Totals: 14-36 2-4 33

Half: L 21, P 20. 3-pointers: L, Koll 2, Whitchurch 1. P, Anderson 1, Cresap 1. Fouls: L 10, P 8. Rebounds: L 20, P 23.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found at slightlychilled.areavoices.com