POWERS - She who rallies last, wins.
That was certainly the case Monday night when the North Central Jets hosted their rivals, the Bark River-Harris Broncos. North Central stymied the Broncos' efforts in the third quarter, but then BR-H ran past the Jets in the fourth to earn the 54-47 dual Skyline/Central U.P. Conference triumph.
The No. 5-ranked Broncos (16-4) held the momentum, as well as a 29-21 lead at the half. They scored the last six points of the second quarter, and felt comfortable heading into the locker room after Sarah Madalinski's final shot hung on the rim and finally fell as the buzzer sounded.
Justin Marietti | Daily Press
Hannah Starnes of Bark River-Harris grabs a loose ball as Darcy Rochon of North Central defends during the second half of their game Monday, in Powers. The Broncos won 54-47.
But the Jets began the third quarter on a 9-2 run and held BR-H to just four points in the entire quarter to roll into the fourth with a 35-33 lead. Morgan Wells of the Jets scored seven of her team's 14 points in the quarter.
"I think we did a good job breaking their press, and I think we actually capitalized at that time," said Jets coach Nikki Laurila.
However, BR-H weathered the storm and their offense broke out of its lull to put up 21 points in the fourth to give them the spacing they would need to get the win.
BR Harris 11 18 4 21 - 54
North Central 9 12 14 12 - 47
BARK RIVER-HARRIS - Jenshak 2, Starnes 8, Hardy 8, Madalinski 12, Schultz 8, VanBrocklin 4, Frazer 12; FT: 16-22; F: 19; Fouled out: Frazer; 3-point field goals: Hardy, Madalinski.
NORTH CENTRAL - M. Wells 17, Campbell 3, LaBonte 4, B. Wells 8, Darcy Rochon 15; FT: 10-27; F: 21; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: B. Wells.
The final quarter turned into a free throw contest, and the Broncos were undeniably the winner. Throughout the game, BR-H shot 16 of 22 from the line, while the Jets only connected on 10 of 27.
It was a contested dogfight the whole time," said Broncos coach Joel Schultz. "If you look at what won the game down the stretch, free throws were probably the difference."
Laurila agreed with that point, conceding that a poor percentage from the stripe cost them a potential victory.
"We got the shots that we wanted to get, but what it came down to was free throws," she said. "We haven't shot that poorly in free throws all year. If we would have made them, we would have had the win."
It was a closely contested game early in the fourth, but a triple from BR-H's Jordyn Hardy gave the Broncos some separation, and aggressive play got them to the line consistently. After a pair of free throws from Hannah Starnes, the Jets were forced to foul, and BR-H were able to coast to the finish.
Sarah Madalinski and Caitlyn Frazer both had 12 points and nine rebounds for BR-H. Hardy added five steals.
Morgan Wells had an outstanding game from the field, and she led the Jets with 17 points. She was followed by Darcy Rochon with 15.
The Broncos, who also took the jayvee game 45-38, is off until Monday when they host Carney-Nadeau in the first round of the districts. North Central (11-7) resumes Thursday, hosting Mid Peninsula.