ARDEN HILLS — Undeterred by a after falling behind by 22 points in the first half, the Stillwater boys basketball team climbed all the way back and dominated in overtime to claim a 90-79 Suburban East Conference victory over the Mustangs on Friday, Jan. 7 at Mounds View High School.

It was a remarkable comeback as the Ponies (3-2 SEC, 7-4) won their fourth straight game, a streak that was eventually ended by East Ridge 80-69 on Jan. 12.

Max Shikenjanski poured in 40 points for the Ponies, bolstered by 16 consecutive made free throws after making three of his first five to start the game. He finished 19-21 at the line for the game.

Stillwater pulled within 45-29 at halftime, but the Mustangs remained in control throughout much of the second half. Mounds View led by 18 points with eight minutes remaining, but the Ponies climbed within 10 two minutes after that. Still staring at a six-point deficit with 1:20 remaining, Shikenjanski and Tanner Thomson hit 3-pointers to even the score at 77-all with just under a minute remaining.

The Ponies did not get the ball back in regulation, but held Mounds View without a point over the last 54 seconds to force overtime.

“We played good defense,” Ponies coach Brady Hannigan said.

It was all Stillwater in overtime, starting with another 3-pointer from Thomson to spark a seven-point run as the Ponies built an 84-77 lead.

Thomson finished with 20 points in the game.

Mounds View (3-2, 9-3) didn’t score until there were 59 seconds left in overtime.

There was nothing frantic about the comeback.

“It was a weird feeling, but we slowly came back,” Hannigan said. “We just started hitting shots and they didn’t. It was very methodical for the last 10 minutes.”

Stillwater made 20 of 30 shots from the field in the second half and overtime, including 9 of 16 from three-point range. It was a dramatic improvement after making just 8 of 29 attempts in the first half, including 3 of 13 from beyond the arc.

“Our goal was to get it within single digits with under two minutes left, which we did,” Hannigan said. “We always feel like we still have a shot if we’re within single digits and two minutes to go. We got it to six with 1:20 left.”

The Ponies trailed Park by 23 points in the first half of a game they eventually won a year ago, but only trailed by three points at halftime.

“This late in a game, I don’t think we’ve had a comeback from this far that late in the game,” said Hannigan, now in his sixth year leading the Ponies.

Kobe Kirk finished with 37 points to lead the Mustangs, who held a 44-33 rebounding edge.

“We gave up 21 offensive rebounds and still won the game,” Hannigan said.

Stillwater 29 48 13 — 90

Mounds View 45 32 2 — 79

Stillwater (pts): Will Swanson 2, Andy Gustafson 6, Drew Johnson 5, Tanner Thomson 20, Nick Koehn 6, Joe Hoheisel 5, Tyler Wiese 6 and Max Shikenjanski 40.

Mounds View: Ben Erickson 5, Kobe Kirk 37, Colby Deluce 9, Eli Roe 6, Ryan Edelman 20 and Calloway Hass 2.

East Ridge 80, Stillwater 69

At Oak Park Heights, the Ponies pulled within four points in the second half, but there was no comeback against the Raptors (4-0 SEC, 8-2), who remained undefeated in conference play with an 80-69 victory on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at Stillwater Area High School.

East Ridge, which received 21 points from Carson Koch and 20 from Kendall Blue, provided a challenging match-up for the Ponies. At one point, the Raptors had five players on the floor who were 6-foot-4 or taller when the tallest player for the Ponies was 6-2.

“They’re just tough,” Ponies coach Brady Hannigan said.

Stillwater’s Max Shikenjanski led all scorers with 41 points — his second straight game and third of the season with 40 or more points.

The Ponies climbed within 56-48 and had the ball midway through the second half, but were unable to convert. East Ridge followed with a 3-pointer on the other end and quickly regained a 15-point cushion.

“We’re back and healthy a little bit,” Hannigan said. “We’ve had guys out sick and injured and now we’re trying to figure out who we are as a team. (East Ridge) was the first night we’ve had all our coaches and all the players at a game all year.”

East Ridge 39 41 — 80

Stillwater 31 38 — 69

East Ridge (pts): Dane Meuler 2, Alex Mattes 16, Kendall Blue 20, Carson Koch 21, Charlie Theis 11 and Charlie Bern 10.

Stillwater: Drew Johnson 13, Tanner Thomson 10, Nick Koehn 2, Joe Hoheisel 3 and Max Shikenjanski 41.

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