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Knights' Lee reaches milestone in loss

Kolten Lee reached a milestone for the West Central Area boys' basketball team on Tuesday night, but it came in a 78-52 loss to undefeated Hawley. Lee was fouled with less than a minute remaining in the game and stepped to the line needing one po...

Kolten Lee reached a milestone for the West Central Area boys' basketball team on Tuesday night, but it came in a 78-52 loss to undefeated Hawley.

Lee was fouled with less than a minute remaining in the game and stepped to the line needing one point to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career.

With every WCA fan standing in the building, Lee calmly drained both shots before head coach Kraig Hunter took him out to a standing ovation.

"It took a lot of dedication and shooting in the summer," Lee said. "A lot of pressure is off now. I'm always more worried about winning and my teammates, but it is nice to get this out of the way. Now I can just concentrate on winning."

His 16 points led all Knights' scorers along with his 13 rebounds and six assists.

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It took a flurry of scoring in the final minutes of the game for him to reach the mark. Lee hit two free throws with around two minutes remaining and then stole the ball and went in for an uncontested layup on Hawley's ensuing possession.

When the Knights got the ball back with less than a minute remaining, Lee drove through the middle of the lane and was fouled near the free-throw line.

The achievement was a little bitter sweet for Lee on a night when the Knights saw the Nuggets bust open a 28-25 game near the end of the first half.

"It's still an accomplishment," he said. "But it would have been nice to get a win along with it."

Hawley's 12-0 run to end the half gave them a 40-25 lead at the break. WCA came out strong in the second half to cut the lead to eight, but the Nuggets showed why they are 9-0 by stretching the lead to 20 points with around six minutes remaining.

Hawley opened up the perimeter by taking the ball strong to the basket through much of the second half. And when they got open shots, they seldom missed, shooting at a 47 percent clip for the game.

The biggest difference came in the turnover category, though, where the Knights gave up the ball 30 times compared to the Nuggets' 11.

"You know you are playing a good team when I thought we were playing pretty good and we were down 22 points," Hunter said. "I saw a lot of encouraging things tonight. Other than the 12-0 run and the 14-0 run, we played about 31-32 good minutes. We will continue to get better."

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The loss was WCA's third in a row and dropped them to 5-4 overall. They are currently in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Heart O' Lakes Conference with a 3-4 record.

Along with watching to see if the Knights can climb back into the HOL race, WCA fans will also be watching to see if Lee can eclipse the school record for most points scored in a career.

He needs 263 more points to tie the mark of 1,264 set by Blake Olson in 2006. Lee sat in sixth place on the all-time list after this game and became only the sixth player in West Central Area history to reach the 1,000-point mark.

GAME STATISTICS

KNIGHTS 25 27 52

NUGGETS 40 38 78

KNIGHTS INDIVIDUAL LEADERS - Kolten Lee - 16 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists; Derek Bredy - 15 points, 7 rebounds; Sam Richards - 13 points, 4 rebounds; Alan Strom - 5 points, 4 steals; Eric Erickson - 3 points

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