Big Bay wins thriller, MP battles, falls to Munising

Girls basketball districts

GARDEN CORNERS — It was nail-biting time in a Class D girls’ district basketball semifinal Wednesday night as Big Bay de Noc outlasted Superior Central 48-46 in an overtime thriller.

In an earlier contest, top-ranked Munising overcame Mid Peninsula’s slowdown tactics to post a 40-31 triumph.

The victories enable the Black Bears (6-15) to host Munising (21-1) in Friday’s championship game which tips off at 7 p.m.

Junior forward Holli Stapleton sank the game-winning free throws with six seconds left in the overtime. The Cougars, however, still had one more chance prior to a controversial ending.

During the final possession, the scoreboard clock apparently malfunctioned and showed 5.4 seconds remaining after the Cougars missed the last shot.

The final turn of events, however, appeared to take the full six seconds and following a brief discussion, the officials ruled the game was over.

“I thought they were going to put more time on the clock,” said senior forward Brooke Dalgord, who led the Black Bears with 12 points. “The refs walked out at first and didn’t say if we won or not. It was weird to see it end that way. It was a fun game to play, but I thought it would never end. It felt like the overtime took forever.”

It was a painful ending for Superior Central which tied the score at 46 on a 21-foot leaner by senior Emma Rondeau with 14.6 seconds remaining in the overtime.

“It’s a shame it came down to the free throw line with six seconds left,” said Cougars’ coach Greg Trowbridge. “It’s a shame that’s how it ended. I don’t understand how they can just stop the game. I can’t see how the game can be over. The clock didn’t run out.”

This marked Big Bay’s third victory over the Cougars this season.

“It always seems to be a dogfight with them,” said Big Bay coach Brad McPhee. “I watched them bring the ball up the court and take the shot. I’m not sure what the correct procedure is, but I think the officials made the right call.”

Rondeau gave the Cougars a 38-34 lead on a set shot from the lane with two minutes, 26 seconds left in regulation.

A layup by senior Madison McPhee brought Big Bay within 38-36 at 1:46. McPhee then tied the contest on a 17-foot jump shot with 1:20 left, forcing the overtime.

“We had opportunities from the line, but didn’t hit the shots,” said Trowbridge. “Although, the girls gave heck of an effort.”

Both teams struggled from the line. The Cougars hit 8-of-18 shot and Big Bay was 8-of-20.

“I’m happy the girls kept it together,” said coach McPhee. “They worked at it and came back. We were patient on offense, sometimes even a little too patient.”

Madison McPhee and sophomore guard Meagan Yonker finished with 11 points each for Big Bay. Rondeau and senior guard Taylor Silta paced the Cougars (2-19) with 13 apiece.

Big Bay committed 13 turnovers and the Cougars had 17.

The opener was tied at 31 following a pair of free throws by Mid Pen freshman guard Daisy Englund early in the fourth frame.

Mid Pen, however, failed to score though the final 6:46.

“Our defense played well enough and we made enough free throws down the stretch,” said Munising coach Matt Mattson. “Give all the credit to Mid Pen. They did exactly what they needed to do. They outplayed us and outcoached us. The last time we played them (in a 56-25 victory at Munising Feb. 24), we hit six 3-pointers. Tonight, we didn’t make any. Mid Pen deserved to win. We got lucky.”

Mid Pen (9-12) took a 27-23 lead on a running jumper from the boulevard by sophomore guard Kennedy Englund midway through the third quarter.

Munising responded with six unanswered points, taking a 29-27 lead on a layup by junior guard Daryn Johnson at 2:36.

The Wolverines, intent on taking the air out of the ball, tied the contest at 29 before the Mustangs took a 31-29 lead on an 18-foot set shot by senior Keira Stampfly late in the third stanza.

“The girls followed the game plan,” said Mid Pen coach Bob Reichel. “I thought they executed real well. We wanted to contain (Kianne) Wendt and (Michaela) Werner, but (Nykole) Fitzgibbon stepped up and played well. Wendt is tough. She’s Player of the Year (in the Skyline Central Conference) for a reason. The girls gave a great effort. If you’re going to play your beast game of the year, it might as well be in the playoffs.”

Wendt scored 14 points and Werner had 11 for the Mustangs, who sank 15-of-54 field goals and had 12 turnovers. Mid Pen hit 12-of-43 shots and had 11 miscues.

“I thought their point guard (sophomore Kennedy Englund) did an excellent job playing with four fouls,” said Mattson. “They needed her out there. That was a great job on her part.”

Kennedy Englund picked up her fourth foul less than two minutes into the third quarter.

Senior guard Haley Trudell led the Wolverines with 11 points.

“We had to take our press off for a little while when we got in foul trouble,” said Reichel. “We had an up and down season, but most importantly the kids were great to work with. They’re not only good basketball players, but they’re better people off the court which makes it easy for me.”

Munising played without senior Kelsea Ackerman, who’s out with a torn miniscis.

Mid Peninsula 15 5 9 2 — 31

Munising 12 7 12 9 — 40

Mid Peninsula — Trudell 11, D. Englund 2, Croasdell 4, Koski 8, K. Englund 4, Lancour 2. FT: 6-8; F: 17; Fouled out: D. Englund; 3-point field goal: Trudell.

Munising — Wendt 14, Johnson 4, Stampfly 2, Fitzgibbon 9, Werner 11. FT: 10-16; F: 11; Fouled out: None; Technical foul: M. Ackerman.

Superior Central 5 15 11 7 8 — 46

Big Bay de Noc 10 12 7 9 10 — 48

Superior Central — Rondeau 13, Maki 2, Gauthier 3, Silta 13, Pasanen 9, Tyner 6. FT: 8-18; F: 18; Fouled out: Gauthier, Tyner; 3-point field goals: Silta 3, Rondeau, Pasanen, Tyner.

Big Bay de Noc — Yonker 11, McPhee 11, Lawrence 2, Mercier 4, Dalgord 12, Stapleton 8. FT: 8-20; F; 17; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Yonker 3, McPhee.