BR-H tops Wolves in wild nail-biter

Girls district basketball

Avery Bundgaard | Daily Press The Bark River-Harris bench celebrates after the game winning free-throw from Lauryn Bloniarz with .3 seconds left in the game to beat Carney-Nadeau in a Class D district game Wednesday at Carney.

CARNEY — Let the March Madness begin.

The Bark River-Harris girls’ basketball team got a clutch free throw from Lauryn Bloniarz with .3 seconds left to break a tie and send the Broncos to a 52-49 win in a wild Class D district game against Carney-Nadeau Wednesday night.

“When it comes to a game like this it’s something they’ll remember for a really long time,” said BR-H coach Josh Eagle. “It could have went either way but one thing we always preach to our girls is to be mentally tough even if things aren’t going your way.”

After Sarah Jackson tied the game at 49-49 for Carney (14-8) with 15 seconds remaining, the Broncos (16-5) had a chance for the last shot. Jaelin Lockwood drove baseline and put up a shot with a couple seconds left but missed.

Bloniarz got the rebound and was fouled with .3 seconds left, which sent the gym into a frenzy.


Bloniarz missed the first free throw but made the second one to ice the game.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking especially missing the first one,” said Bloniarz. “I was just hoping I made the next one and luckily I did.”

Many of the Carney fans did not like the call, including Wolves’ coach Travis Depuydt who was given a technical foul after Bloniarz made the winning free throw. Depuydt went out on the playing floor to argue the call.

Megan Robinette made both technical free throws to end the game.

“We got down early and a lot of teams throw in the towel when they get down nine to Bark River especially on this kind of stage,” said Depuydt. “I knew my girls have heart and they have a lot of determination. What we accomplished this year nobody can take that away from us and I’m super proud of the girls and the effort they had tonight.”

Avery Bundgaard | Daily Press Carney-Nadeau’s Taylor Linder drives baseline while Bark River-Harris’ Lauryn Bloniarz defends during the second quarter Wednesday.

After leading 9-5 after the first quarter, the Broncos turned it on in the second going up by as much as 12. The Wolves cut that lead in half with six straight free throws but Bark River would recover and go up 29-18 going into halftime.

The Wolves slowly crept back into the game in the third quarter and by the end only trailed 41-36 entering the final quarter.

Both teams went back-and-forth to start the fourth quarter. Sara Sivula scored four straight points including a bucket to bring Carney within one with 2:30 left in the game. After the Broncos scored the next three points, Sivula brought the Wolves back within two with a minute left and Jackson tied the game with 15 seconds to go.

“Whether we’re down 20 or up 20 those girls play the same way and give 110 percent no matter what,” said Depuydt. “We didn’t have the best first half that we could have but we kept fighting and kept digging and we came back.”

Tatiana LaFave was the leading scorer for Bark River with 12 points while Haillee Demers added 10. Bloniarz had five points but the last one was probably the biggest of her career.

“I just got to make this shot and everybody’s praying I make it,” said Bloniarz on her mindset going to the line. “And if I don’t my teammates have my back and we’ll get it back hopefully.”

Layla Blahnik-Thoune led the Wolves with 19 points and Sivula added nine.

The Broncos will travel to North Central Friday for the district title game and Eagle hopes the excitement and energy carries over.

“To be honest with you I don’t know what kind of effect it’s going to have,” said Eagle. “But it’s encouraging and inspiring no matter how you look at it because our girls kept fighting and fighting in a close game. The more games we have like that the stronger we’re going to get. It has to help at some point.”

The summary:

Bark River-Harris 9 20 12 11 — 52

Carney-Nadeau 5 15 16 13 — 49

Bark River-Harris — J. Lockwood 3, Debelak 7, Demers 10, LaFave 12, Bloniarz 5, Robinette 7, G. Peterson 6; FT: 11-24; F: 17; Fouled out: none; Technical fouls: Depuydt; 3-point field goals: LaFave 3.

Carney-Nadeau — Sivula 9, Jackson 8, Belec 4, Blahnik-Thoune 19, Linder 7, Theoret 2; FT: 19-23; F: 17; Fouled out: Belec; 3-point field goals: none.