Tigers lose tourney openerNorthwestern started the game on a 8-0 run but surrendered the lead when Osceola sophomore Alexis Boissy heated up at the 3-point line. She led all scorers for the night with 21 points and hit five 3-pointers.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
MAPLE — The season ended for the Northwestern High School girls basketball team Tuesday night as the Tigers fell to Osceola 47-43 in a WIAA Division 3 regional game.
Northwestern started the game on a 8-0 run but surrendered the lead when Osceola sophomore Alexis Boissy heated up at the 3-point line. She led all scorers for the night with 21 points and hit five 3-pointers.
“It’s tough when girls get on fire like that,” said Northwestern coach Molly Fletcher. “It’s tough to shut them down sometimes.”
The Chieftains’ victory marks the second straight year Osceola has defeated Northwestern in the playoffs. Last year Osceola topped Northwestern 45-43 in the opening round.
Today, Osceola travels to Ladysmith to face the No. 1 seed in the region and the undefeated champion of the Heart O’ North Conference.
“It’s a good confidence booster, but we know that there’s a big challenge waiting for us in Ladysmith,” said Osceola head coach Matt Haase. “These girls are determined to come out and play hard every night, and that’s what I ask of them.”
Ladysmith has advanced to the sectional finals in the past two season. The Lumberjacks made the sectional finals in Division 4 in 2012 and in Division 3 in 2011.
The Chieftains looked tentative in their start against Northwestern Tuesday night. They turned the ball over on their first possession and then sent the Tigers’ Aliex Friend to the free-throw line. The senior sunk her first shot and missed the second, but Reggie Semanko was able to corral the rebound put it off the glass to give Northwestern a 3-0 lead.
The Tigers went up 6-0 at 4:58 on a 3-pointer by Jordan Johnson, and Amanda Ogren made it 8-0 with a layup 40 seconds later.
Haase then called a timeout to settle his team and halt Northwestern’s momentum.
“I told them they had to get off the bus, just as a joking remark to start with,” Haase said. “But then we just talked strategy. We talked about moving the ball better and moving our feet on defense. It’s always about simple things.”
Following the timeout, the Chieftains’ Anna Traynor hit a pair of free throws to make it 8-2. Boissy then took over with a trio 3-pointers in the final three minutes of quarter. Her final shot from the arc came with seven second to play and put Osceola ahead for the first time, 13-10.
Osceola was kept off the board until the final two minutes of the second quarter, but Northwestern failed to capitalize, scoring just six points to go into the second half trailing 17-16.
In the second half, the game was tied five times and the lead changed seven times.
The largest lead for either team in the third quarter was three points — coming at 3:21 with Osceola up 25-22. By the end of the quarter the score was tied at 29-29, and Northwestern started off strong in the fourth quarter to build a 39-34 lead with 3:57 to play.
But the Chieftains needed less than a minute to erase the Tigers’ advantage. Boissy started with her fifth 3-pointer of the night to make it 39-37, and Traynor tied the game when she scooped up the ball on a Northwestern turnover and went in for a layup at 3:12.
Osceola took over the lead with a shot in the paint at 2:02, but Katie Hansen answered for the Tigers to even the score again, 41-41.
The Chieftains took over the lead for good at 1:13, and in the final minute Boissy went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to cement the lead for Osceola.
Boissy was 2-for-4 in her previous two trips to the free-throw line, but she put in all four shots while shooting in the one-and-one bonus
“Huge,” Fletcher said. “Those are hard to sink under pressure like that.”
“She started for us as a freshman last year as well, so she does have quite a bit of experience,” Haase said. “If I recall, she had missed a couple (free throws) earlier in the game, so her nerves I’m sure were getting to her. But she was clutch down the stretch.”
Osceola finished the game shooting 14-for-19 from three free-throw line. The Chieftains shot 90 percent from the line in the first three quarters.
Northwestern ended the night shooting 10-for-16. The Tigers shot 75 percent in the first three quarters but 50 percent in the final quarter.
Boissy’s 21 points led Osceola. Traynor added nine, and Shaina Ekstrom had six.
Hansen led Northwestern with 10 points, and Ogren and Friend added nine apiece. Johnson and Angela Snow finished with five points each, Hailey Eller had three and Gwen LaPole had two.
“I’m proud of each and every one of the girls, and it’s been an awesome first season for me,” Fletcher said. “I’m just happy with the way things went overall, and I’m excited for next year.”
Osceola 13 4 12 18 — 47
Northwestern 10 6 13 14 — 43
Osceola — Alexis Boissy 21, Anna Traynor 9, Shaina Ekstrom 6, Nicole Steinmetz 4, Katie McMartin 3, McKenzie Burke 2, Kailey Ekstrom 2.
3-point goals — Boissy 5, McMartin, Traynor.
Northwestern — Katie Hansen 10, Amanda Ogren 9, Aliex Friend 9, Jordan Johnson 5, Angela Snow 5, Hailey Eller 3, Gwen LaPole 2.
3-point goals — Ogren, Johnson, Eller.