Bussman drives Bison: Milnor outlasts FW-M in Class B final
Briton Bussman scored in every way imaginable for Milnor in the Class B boys basketball state championship Saturday.
Defenders draped the 6-foot-3 junior swingman for the entire game and he still managed to score a game-high 28 points as the Bison held off Four Winds-Minnewaukan 67-60 for the program’s first state title.
Bussman hit four of his five 3-point attempts and converted a demoralizing four-point play during a 14-6 third-quarter run, which gave the Bison its largest lead of the game at 14 points. He finished with 76 points in three games on the way to being named tournament most valuable player.
“I wanted to keep it. I can handle the ball pretty well and they got it to me,” said Bussman, who also had eight rebounds. “We made good decisions towards the end. We struggled for awhile, but we took care of it when it mattered.”
Despite never trailing, nearly every possession had a final-seconds feel and Bussman demanded the ball. When the Indians ramped up their full-court pressure in the second half, Bussman comfortably took control of the backcourt and blew by reaching defenders.
“That’s exactly what we need from him,” fourth-year Milnor coach Ben Nelson said. “He makes great decisions, he handles the ball really well, as you saw tonight. He can handle that pressure even if they put two or three guys on him.”
Junior forward Wyatt Mund had a game-high 17 rebounds to go along with 12 points. Mund’s 15 rebounds on the defensive end limited FW-M’s second-chance opportunities, especially in the second half.
Indians senior Austin Longie finished with a team-high 24 points and eight rebounds. Longie hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to cut the deficit to 53-50 with 4:47 left in the game, but Bussman answered with a trey of his own two possessions later. The Bison lead was soon back in double digits.
“(Bussman) handles the ball, shoots the ball extremely well, gets into the paint,” FW-M coach Rick Smith said, “Just a great all-around basketball player and when you key on him, you’ve got (Wyatt) Mund in the middle.”
Milnor senior Landon Mund scored 13 points.
The Bison started the game on a 7-0 run with a Bussman 3-pointer sandwiched by Colin Yagow layups. Longie got the Indians on the board with a coast-to-coast drive and a pair of free throws and the Milnor lead ranged from one to six through the fast-paced first half.
Milnor held a 31-25 lead at the break behind the balanced scoring of Bussman and the Mund brothers. Bussman led all first-half scorers with 12 points, including two 3-pointers, and the Munds had seven apiece.
FW-M’s active defense forced nine first-half turnovers and the Indians committed just four of their own. FW-M senior Collin Delorme had seven of his 10 first-half rebounds on the offensive end, but the Indians struggled to capitalize on second-chance opportunities. FW-M came up empty after missing four shots on its first possession of the game.
Longie and sophomore Trayvon McKay, the team’s top shooters, combined to shoot 1-for-12 from long range and the Indians finished the game 3-for-19.
“I thought we rushed things on offense again a little bit,” Smith said. “We gave them too many easy transition baskets throughout the game.”
McKay, who scored 22 and 15 in the first two games, finished with five points. DeLorme finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds and junior guard Hadley Smith had 12 and seven.