With time winding down in a tie game in overtime, eighth-grader Karlee Zablotney found an open lane to the basket from the free-throw line and converted a layup with a second left to send the Our Redeemer's Christian School bench into a frenzy.
Zablotney's basket gave the Knights a 50-48 overtime victory against Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood on Monday in a Region 6 qualifier at the Minot Municipal
Auditorium. ORCS is the No. 4 seed in the region tournament and plays TGU in the first round.
Our Redeemer’s coach Kory Nelson, left, and junior Gabi Boeckel (11) embrace eighth-grader Karlee Zablotney after winning a Region 6 qualifier on Monday at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
"I saw a wide-open layup down the lane and I took it," Zablotney said. "It's really exciting that we get to go to regionals."
M-L-S senior Sierra Smith tied the game at 48, hitting a runner in the lane and drawing a foul with 13 seconds left in overtime. Smith missed the ensuing free throw and the Knights came down with the rebound. With ORCS freshman guard Morgan Olson on the bench after fouling out with less than a minute remaining and no timeouts left, the Knights did some improvising on their final possession.
"What we had in the books was for Morgan to go
1-on-4, but then she fouled out," ORCS coach Kory Nelson said. "It was more or less a free-for-all. I was trying to tell Lauren (Hendrickson) to get the ball from Gabi (Boeckel) and she was going to do the 1-on-4. Gabi made a pass to Karlee and Karlee did what's instinctive of her: drive to the hoop."
Said Olson: "I was disappointed that I fouled out in case it went into another overtime. I was super happy when I saw Karlee made that shot at the last second. It was a rush."
It was the second loss in overtime in as many games for the No. 2 seed Mavericks. M-L-S (15-7) took the lead twice in the extra frame on baskets by senior guard Emily Abernathey. Her
second bucket gave the Mavericks a 46-44 lead before ORCS junior forward McKensie Popinga tied the contest with a shot from 5 feet. Olson's final shot of the game gave the Knights (10-12) a 48-46 advantage with 33 seconds remaining.
"What makes it the most exciting for me is these girls are so young and to come so far we lost to Mohall when we went up there we've just been gelling slowly as the year's been going on. For these girls to be this young and beat a quality team like Mohall was just wonderful."
The Knights fell 64-38 when the teams met in Mohall on Jan. 16.
The Mavericks forced overtime when junior guard Aubree Vendsel drained a jumper with six seconds left in regulation. M-L-S recorded six points in the fourth quarter.
The Knights took their first lead at 39-38 with 6:02 left in the fourth after trailing by as many as 11 points in the second half. Smith put the Mavericks back in front after nearly four minutes of scoreless play. Hendrickson hit her third 3-pointer of the second half with 1:18 left in the fourth to give ORCS a 42-40 lead.
"I just had to remember to keep my arm up and imagine the ball going in the basket and believing I can make it," Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson finished with 15 points, knocking down four of ORCS' five 3s in the contest.
A trey by M-L-S senior guard Shania Brackenbury put the Mavericks in front by 11 at 28-17 early in the second half. Olson trimmed ORCS' deficit to seven before M-L-S reestablished its 11-point advantage a few possessions later.
The Knights closed the third quarter on an 11-2 run as Hendrickson hit a 3 with six seconds left. Olson recorded 11 of her team-high 20 points in the third after being limited to four points in the first half.
"What we struggle with is passing the ball around and getting movement out of her offense at times," Nelson said. "Sometimes I think Morgan (thinks she) has to do a little more than she needs to. We talked about that at halftime. When we make a pass and we cut and we get about three, four, five of those, we were shooting layups. In the first half we were trying to do screen and roll and take whatever that gave us and that never gave us anything."
Neither team could find its offense in the first quarter as each scored five points after eight minutes. The first point came on a Hendrickson free throw 2:55 into the game and the opening basket was made by Smith with 4:19 left. The Knights didn't knock down a shot in the opening six minutes of play.
With the Knights still struggling in the second quarter, the Mavericks went on an 11-0 run spanning 3:55 and led 23-15 at halftime. Smith finished with a
game-high 21 points.
Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.