Tiger girls fall in OT
MAPLE — The Northwestern High School girls basketball team kicked off its home schedule Tuesday in a heart-pumping duel with the Cameron Comets.
The lead changed 18 times and the score was tied on 12 occasions before Cameron prevailed 70-62 in overtime.
Kim Weber, in her first year coaching the Comets, summed up the night’s action with an exhausted laugh.
“It boiled down to doing what they had to do, the small things,” Weber said. “I’m very happy with the win.”
Victory nearly slipped away from Cameron in the closing seconds of regulation.
With 32.8 seconds to play, the Comets had built their largest lead of the night, 58-54, on a pair of free throws by Gabby Thompson.
Northwestern was in the midst of a slump — scoring only three points over four and a half minutes — but Katie Lundeen put up four points in the final 21 seconds to send the game to overtime.
The junior cut Cameron’s lead to 58-56 on a pair of free throws with 20.4 seconds remaining, and she tied the game with 8 seconds to play on an inside pass from Cassidy Friend.
Lundeen then came up with a steal for the chance to win, but Friend’s jumper as time expired didn’t drop.
“I thought that was fantastic,” NHS coach Rich Windt said. “We scrapped and we played as hard as we could.”
In overtime, Friend gave Northwestern the lead with a layup on the tipoff, but Daynen Paddock answered on the other end for the Comets to knot the game at 60-60. The score was tied once more, after a Cameron layup and a midrange jumper by Friend, but the Comets closed out the final 2:13 of overtime on an 8-0 run to win 70-62.
Cameron made 4-of-7 free throws in overtime and 4-of-4 in the last four minutes of regulation. The Tigers went 3-of-7 in the final four minutes and did not shoot a free throw in overtime.
Free throws were a factor in Tuesday’s game, Windt said, but he believes the loss rests on his shoulders.
“Good coaches win the close ones, I guess that’s what it comes down to,” he said. “I can’t ask any more from our girls. They gave everything that they possible could. There were a couple of plays down at the end that, with a little better coaching, we probably could have gotten over the hump.”
Northwestern held a narrow lead for much of the second half, with the largest margin coming at 11:34 after back-to-back shots by Lyndzee Parker and Lundeen gave the Tigers a 42-37 lead. Transition layups by Cameron’s Maddy Otto and Carli Wanink cut the lead to one, but with 6:10 to play Northwestern had rebuilt a four-point lead.
Then came the Tigers’ scoring slump, with Laryssa Vik scoring their only four points in the next five minutes. Her three-point play at the 2:41 mark tied the game at 54-54, but Cameron took back the lead with four points at the free-throw line.
“We had a couple kind of ding-dong fouls that we didn’t need to make that put them to the line where we didn’t have to do that,” Windt said. “We have to be a little more disciplined, but I think this is something we can build on.
“That’s a really good team we played. I thought we came and we played pretty well; we just fell on the short end a little bit.”
For the night, Northwestern was 19-of-30 at the free-throw line, and Cameron was 17-of-28. The Comets made 7-of-9 free throws in the last eight minutes of regulation.
Lundeen led all players with 28 points. She scored 18 points for Northwestern in the second half and ended the night shooting 10-of-13 from the free-throw line.
“We kind of switched up different things, just really talking and doubling her, making sure that when she had the ball we had someone on her,” Weber said. “She’s a great player.”
Friend finished with 14 points for the Tigers and Vik had nine, including six in the second half. Parker added five points, Sam Hoegen had four, and Kasha Hughlet scored the first basket of the night for Northwestern.
Cameron was led by Wanink and Otto, who finished with 21 and 19 points respectively.
Northwestern hosts Spooner at 7 p.m. today to open Heart O’ North Conference play, and on Tuesday the Tigers will face the defend state champion Hurricanes in Hayward.
“Our goal is to be really good at the end of the year,” Windt said. “I think our ceiling is really high. If we can stay healthy I think we’ve got a really good ball team.”
TIGER TALES: Cameron’s eight-point victory ended up as the largest lead of the night for either team. Northwestern’s largest lead of the game was five points. … The Comets advanced to the WIAA Division 4 regional finals last season before being upset by Abbotsford. This year, Cameron and Clayton are the favorites within the Central Lakeland Conference. Clayton returns the majority of its starters from a team that advanced to the WIAA Division 5 state tournament last year. The Comets play at Clayton Dec. 9.
Cameron............................... 25 33 12 — 70
Northwestern.......................... 26 32 4 — 62
Cameron — Carli Wanink 21, Maddy Otto 19, Hannah Zimmerman 8, Gabby Thompson 7, Daynen Paddock 5, Ali Kringle 4, Morgan Warner 3, Brooke Zimmerman 3.
3-points goals — Wanink 2, Thompson.
Northwestern — Katie Lundeen 28, Cassidy Friend 14, Laryssa Vik 9, Lyndzee Parker 5, Sam Hoegen 4, Kasha Hughlet 2.
3-points goals —Parker.