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Midgettes cap wild 21.6 seconds with win


Jason Juno/Daily Globe

Hurley's MaKayla Wolfe puts up a layup while being fouled by Ashland's Kaiya Voldberg Thursday at the Hurley K-12 School. The three-point play with 3.3 seconds left was the game-winner for the Midgettes.

HURLEY - Hurley has a week off before the postseason starts, but Thursday night's game may have been good enough to keep the momentum going that long.

After trailing much of the evening, Hurley capped off a whirlwind 21.6 seconds - and the regular season - with a 38-35 victory over Ashland.

Hurley tied the score at 35 with 1:45 left on a Natalie Moon free throw. The Midgettes played solid defense on Ashland and forced a long jump shot at the end of a long possession. It didn't go and Hurley called timeout with 56.8 seconds left.

The Midgettes kept working it around, long enough that it appeared they were destined for the last shot, before Gabby Pecotte threw it to Hurley coach Steve Eder.

Now it appeared Hurley's best hope was overtime.

But Moon picked off a pass near the block and found Wolfe, who was headed downcourt. Wolfe made the fast break layup and was fouled with 3.3 seconds left. Hurley used its foul to give with 2 seconds left and Ashland wasn't able to get a good look off.

"I don't even know how I got it," Moon said. "I looked up the floor and there's G (Wolfe) and the ball was rattling around in my hands. I just passed it and thankfully it got to her."

Wolfe saw her steal it.

"I knew I had to book it down there and I knew she'd get me a good pass," she said.

Moon is a post player, but her pass after the steal was right on.

"We do ballhandling stuff all the time; it doesn't matter what position you play, just like everyone does post stuff," Eder said. "Everybody's got to be able to do all the things that every position does. Natalie dribbled with her head up and saw MaKayla streaking."

Wolfe's shot was a layup on the break, but with the win in the balance and Ashland's Kaiya Voldberg trailing her and fouling her, it wasn't the easiest one to make.

Oh, and she still has a broken finger on her right hand, which is the one she shot with.

"If she would have been coming down the left-hand side, it probably would have been an easier shot for her," Eder said. "Fortunately, we made it and then she stepped up as calm and as cool as could be and made the free throw."

Ashland headed back home with a sour taste in its mouth.

"Basically, anything that could go wrong for us in the last 21 seconds did go wrong," Ashland coach Brett Gunderson said. "This was one of those games where you knew whoever made the last mistake, the other team would capitalize. Unfortunately, that was us tonight."

The Midgettes, on the other hand, couldn't have asked for a better final game.

"That one is huge," Wolfe said. "We're going to have deal with that in tournament time."

Lost in the excitement was the Midgettes achieved one of their regular-season goals with the win, finishing with just five losses.

"We couldn't be happier," Eder said. "We wanted this game for a couple reasons. One was that goal. Two was we wanted a little momentum going into next week. We don't play a game now for a week. It's good to go into that break on a high note. It gives us some confidence going into the tournament that we can win some games like this."

Hurley didn't shoot well from the free throw line, 7 of 18. That allowed Ashland to maintain a slight lead most of the night.

Wolfe hit a triple with 2:37 left in the game to give Hurley a 34-33 lead, its first since it 2-1.

Ashland's Lucia Agostine scored inside after the Oredockers grabbed an offensive rebound to retake the lead.

Moon's free throw tied it after that at 35-35. Ashland came up empty on a long possession and Eder told his team during a timeout with 56.8 seconds left that they were in the driver's seat at that point.

The Midgettes weren't necessarily going to hold for the last shot.

"We wanted to just stay in the flow of our offense and, actually, if it got under 20 seconds, I was going to call another timeout and we were going to hold it for the rest of the period," he said. "I've got five senior girls out there, as long as it's in the flow of our how we're doing things, if you're open, I don't care how much time is on the clock. Ideally, we wanted to get something going to the rim. We had them at seven fouls."

The experienced Midgettes didn't let their turnover with 21.6 seconds to go and the game still tied bother them.

"Having those seniors that have been through this stuff so many times, I just told them, 'Hey it's over with,'" Eder said. "If you dwell on it, we're not going to come out. Just knuckle down, play good defense, we had a foul to give. We talked if they hadn't shot with five seconds left, we were going to foul on purpose."

Instead, Moon, who led Hurley with 11 points, came up with the big steal and Wolfe the game-winning three-point play.

"What better memory for them to take with them for their last regular-season game at home, to beat a team like Ashland," Eder said.

Alison Huber scored 15 points to lead Ashland, which lost both meetings to Hurley while leading early.

No. 2-seeded Hurley (17-5) hosts No. 3 Phillips Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in a WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal.

Ashland - Kaiya Voldberg 2, Alison Huber 15, Cassie Perry 2, Lucia Agostine 9, Nicole Huber 7. FTs: 5-11. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: Molly Kovala. 3-pointers: A. Huber 4.

Hurley - Gabby Pecotte 8, Natalie Moon 11, Brittany Czarnecki 3, MaKayla Wolfe 7, Kirkie Pecotte 9. FTs: 7-18. Fouls: 9. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: G. Pecotte 1, Czarnecki 1, Wolfe 1.

Ashland 11 20 30 35

Hurley 7 17 26 38


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