BELMONT — Potosi’s dream of an outright Six Rivers West boys’ basketball championship was in severe jeopardy Friday night at Belmont.
The Chieftains trailed the host Braves by seven points with less than five minutes remaining when Potosi standout Brent Curtis — a possible Six Rivers West Player of the Year candidate and the team’s leading scorer — picked up his fourth foul and was forced to the bench.
But junior forward Nate Friederick stepped into the spotlight, scoring six of the game’s final 14 points as Potosi closed the game on a 12–2 run over the final 4:01 to steal a 48–45 victory that spoiled Belmont’s Senior Night and kept pace with Six Rivers West co-leader Shullsburg.
Friederick finished with a team-high 19 points and eight rebounds as Potosi improved to 15–6 overall and 10–1 in the Six Rivers West. Shullsburg improved to 18–2 and 10–1 with a 57–34 victory over River Ridge Friday night. The Miners will travel to Potosi Thursday night in the regular season finale for both teams with the outright SRW title on the line.
Meanwhile, Belmont fell to 14–7 overall and remains in third place in the conference at 7–5.
In a back-and-forth first half neither team led by more than four points.
Lane Kamps’ driving layup with 2:20 left in the half gave Belmont a 20–16, advantage, but Friederick answered with a spin move on the block moments later and Potosi trailed by two at the half, 20–18.
Neither team gained much separation in the third quarter either, but Belmont junior Raine Voigts scored eight of his game-high 22 points in the period and gave the Braves a 34–30 edge with a driving layup at the 1:14 mark.
But Friederick answered for Potosi with a tip-in at the buzzer to again make it a two-point game going into the final eight minutes.
Friederick’s steal and layup 40 seconds into the fourth tied the game, but Belmont seized control with a 9–2 run over the next two minutes. Voigts connected from behind the arc, then after a Kyle Kaiser jumper for Potosi, Belmont junior Jon Bahr buried back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Braves a 43–36 lead with 5:12 remaining.
Friederick started Potosi’s game-winning rally with a pair of free throws at the 4:01 mark. Curtis returned briefly to add a steal and a breakaway layup in the midst of Potosi’s run to make it 43–40, but the Chieftains were forced to complete the comeback without their leading scorer after Curtis fouled out with 3:24 remaining.
After consecutive turnovers by both teams — a charging call on Friedrick wiped away a Potosi basket — before Kaiser tied the game with a 3-pointer from the wing with exactly two minutes remaining.
Voigts scored on a putback 19 seconds later, but those were Belmont’s final points of the game and only basket of the final 5:12.
Friederick ripped away a steal and went coast to coast to tied the game with 1:02 left, then made 1 of 2 from the free throw line after a Belmont turnover.
After Bahr missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, Belmont chose to foul and Friederick again made 1 of 2 from the line to give Potosi a slim 47–45 lead with 16.9 seconds left.
After a near steal by Potosi’s Riley Hawes, Bahr drew a foul, but missed the front end of the bonus with 7.8 seconds left.
Belmont grabbed the offensive rebound and Kamps had an open look at a 3-pointer, but his attempt rimmed out.
Jake Udelhoven made 1 of 2 from the line to extend Potosi’s lead to three with 2.8 ticks left.
The Braves advanced the ball to half court and called a timeout with 1.0 second left to set up a final play.
Belmont head coach Dave Michalkiewicz set up a nifty give-and-go sideline inbound play, but Voigts’ 3-pointer at the buzzer was offline.
Kaiser scored 11 points in the win for Potosi. Curtis had nine and senior Dan Post chipped in eight for the Chieftains.
Bahr finished with 12 points, while Kamps added six and junior Quinn Cushman had five. Only five Braves scored in the loss.
Belmont seniors Lucas Haag, Cole Lehnheer and Tyler Silva were honored before the game.
After closing out the regular season with Shullsburg, Potosi opened the WIAA Division 5 playoffs Tuesday as sixth-seeded Southwestern (9–12) comes to town. Shullsburg is the top-seed in the regional.
Belmont earned the fourth seed in the same Shullsburg regional and will host No. 5 Barneveld (12–9) Tuesday after closing out the regular season Thursday at Highland (6–14, 1–9).
Last Tuesday, Belmont made six 3-pointers and routed host Benton (3–17, 1–9 SRW) 54–29.
Voigts scored a team-high 15 points to lead a balanced attack. Bahr added 10 and Kamps finished with eight.
Potosi 48, Belmont 45
(from Friday, Feb. 20 @ Belmont)
Potosi 7 11 14 16 — 48
Belmont 9 11 14 11 — 45
Potosi (15–6, 10–1) — Kyle Kaiser 11, Brent Curtis 9, Jake Langkamp 1, Dan Post 8, Nate Friederick 19. Totals — 19 7-14 48.
Belmont (14–7, 7–4) — Quinn Cushman 5, Lane Kamps 6, Jon Bahr 12, Raine Voigts 22. Totals — 18 2-3 45.
3-point goals — P: 3 (Kaiser 3); P: 7 (Cushman 1, Bahr 4, Voigts 2). Team fouls — P: 11; B: 15. Fouled out — P: Curtis; B: Lucas Haag, Josh Logsdon.
Belmont 54, Benton 29
(from Tuesday, Feb. 17 @ Benton)
Belmont 11 16 19 8 — 54
Benton 3 7 6 13 — 29
Belmont (14–6, 7–3) — Cole Johnson 5, Nate Knebel 5, Lane Kamps 8, Jon Bahr 10, Nick Willborn 3, Tyler Silva 2, Raine Voigts 15, Lucas Haag 2, Josh Logsdon 4. Totals — 20 8-11 53.
Benton (3–17, 1–9) — Bailey 7, Aaron Coffey 2, Austin Erdenberger 2, Joel Fawcett 2, Tyler Hibly 16. Totals — 10 8-15 29.
3-point goals — Bel: 6 (Bahr 2, Johnson 1, Knebel 1, Voigts 1, Willborn 1); Ben: 1 (Hibly 1). Team fouls — Bel: n/a, Ben: n/a. Fouled out — none.