'Boom. It's over'
Lady Samsons close season with loss to Jacks
IRONWOOD - The Gogebic Community College Lady Samsons had high hopes and aspirations for the NJCAA Division II Region 13 tournament, so it was a bitter pill to swallow when they fell to Dakota College of Bottineau 91-82 in the championship game at the Lindquist Center on Sunday afternoon.
"It's a tough loss, especially for the sophomores," Gogebic coach Mark Movrich said. "Five months together and all of a sudden-boom-it's over. Both teams played hard, they're playing for the championship. It was definitely a game of runs. (10 ties, 6 lead changes). Unfortunately, they had one run at the end we couldn't recover from. It was a good game, an entertaining game.
"We were 21-8 and lost in the first round of the tournament, the same as last year. I was hoping to take a step forward from last year, so that's a bit of a disappointment, but injuries really hurt us."
Bottineau coach Wayne Johnson was ecstatic with his team's fourth Region 13 win in five years.
"Coming in, I knew it would be real close game and we got a real good team effort," Johnson said. "It was a great game and they (GCC) are a heck of a team. They're a load and Sam Ofstad is a load . She scored 37 points and had six assists. She might be the best player we've seen all year. We're just darned happy to get out of here with a win.
"We shoot a lot of 3s and we're a good shooting team, but we had some other people really step up. Imani Scott and Chelsea Frazier are two of the best guards in Division II and they had 24 and 27 points. But we expect that from them. But when Gogebic made that run later in the game, it was our inside player, Mattie Schmitt, who had some big hoops that kept them from getting momentum. She was hurt and scored 22 points and had 19 rebounds."
Down 44-37 at the half, Ofstad splashed a 3 six seconds into the second half while falling backwards. Brittni Kisul made a 3 the hard way with a jump shot and a free throw and GCC closed the gap to 44-43.
And when Ofstad tossed up a 15-footer that hit on the rim bounced up and then in and then drove the lane and rolled in a shot with her left hand, the Lady Samsons took the lead at 47-46.
But trouble was brewing when Kisul picked up her fourth foul at the 17:40 mark and had to leave.
The Jacks regained the lead and would go up four, five, six points in the second half and Gogebic would surge back.
With 7:21 left in the game, Scott buried a high arcing 3 from the left corner that gave Bottineau their biggest lead at 77-68.
But as happened a number of times in the game, the Lady Samsons refused to fold. With two players shadowing her, Offstad launched a top-of-the-key 3 that found nothing but net. (77-71).
At the 6:34 mark, Korrie Trier was in the perfect position for a put-back that whittled the led to 77-73.
And then Ale Kohegyi sank a 3 from another zip code as GCC pulled to within 78-76 with 5:03 left.
Gogebic looked ready to grab that wave of momentum and ride it to the finish line.
But Schmitt stepped in at the precise time the Jacks needed her. First, she made a floater from nine feet out and then the lefty sank a baby hook and converted on a free throw. She the slipped a sharp pass across the lane to Zirahuen Hernandez for an easy two.
Schmitt was directly or indirectly involved in the scoring of seven straight points and Bottineau had a 85-79 advantage with 1:58 left.
"Big hoops by Mattie," Johnson said. "It kept them from grabbing momentum and running with it."
Schmitt explained the mini-rally down the stretch.
"We knew they had foul trouble, so down the stretch we wanted to get the ball inside, because she backed off" Schmitt said. "It worked so we kept using it. This game was so much fun to play in. I love close games and GCC is a very good team.."
Movrich said the real problem was stopping the ball from going into the post area.
"We didn't do a good job of denying," Movrich said. "Tierra Sanders had already fouled out and Brittni Kisul had four fouls much of the second half. She couldn't foul. We had to stop the ball from going in there and didn't."
With 18.9 seconds left, Chelsea Frazier made two free throws to give Bottineau a 91-82 lead and the Lindquist Center went silent. A Region 13 win would have would have to wait until next year.
Another area Bottineau had a big advantage over GCC was 3-point shooting. The Jacks shot 10-23 on three-balls (43.5 percent) which was good for 30 points, while the Lady Samsons were 6-26 (23.1 percent), which only gave them 18 points.
The Jacks had three players go over 20 points. Frazier, who was the Region 13 MVP, took top scoring honors with 27 points, while Scott garnered 24 points and Schmitt added 22,
Ofstad torched the twine for 37 points in her last game for Gogebic, while Sarah Trudgeon notched 16 points and was 10-10 on free throws. Kisul, who was also playing her final game as a Lady Samson reached double figures with 12 points but was frustrated by the fact she could only play 28 minutes.
Bottineau now moves on to play the winner of NJCAA Region 9 at the Region 9 site.
Bottineau - Imani Scott 24, Shania Brackenbury 13, Chelsea Frazier 27, Zirahuren Hernandez 2, Whitney, Brandvold 3, Mattie, Schmitt 22.. FTs: 6-9, Fouls: 17, Fouled out: none, 3-pointers: Scott 4, Brackenbury4, Frazier 2..
GCC - Ale Kohegyi 6, Korrie Trier 8, Sam Ofstad 37. Sarah Trudgeon 16, Brittni Kisul 12, Tierra Sanders 1, Samantha Norback 2 ,. FTs: 18-23, Fouls 24, Fouled out: Snders, 3-pointers: Ofstad 3, Trudgeon2, Kohegyi 1..
Half: Bottineau, 44-37
All-Region 13 Team
Gogebic Community College - Brittni Kisul
Gogebic Community Colllege - Sam Ofstad
Dakota College of Bottineau - Imani Scott
Region 13 MVP: Bottineau - Chelsea Frazier