By Mark Johnson
KCC 49 – Northern Freeze 52
The Bearcats and Northern Freeze hooked up for a third time this season in the quarterfinal round of play of the west sub-section tournament at NCTC in Thief River Falls last Thursday, March 2. The first two matchups came down to the wire with the Bearcats getting an overtime win in mid January and a three point win in early February.
KCC got off to a quick start and jumped out to a 6-0 lead. The Freeze responded and did not let the Bearcats get a lead bigger than that for the rest of the contest. In fact the Freeze reeled in the Bearcats and took a slight lead about halfway through the first half, and then it was the Bearcats turn to respond. KCC turned the table and rebuilt their lead to 21-16 at the end of the first half of play.
The opening minutes of the second half of play proved to be big for the Freeze. The Bearcats were unable to capitalize on their first few possessions of the second half and the Freeze closed the gap. The second half of play had both teams exchanging leads and battling each other on both ends of the floor. The Bearcats looked to have the advantage with a few minutes left to play in the game with a five-point lead 44-39 over the Freeze with about 3 minutes left to play. KCC had opportunities that they could not capitalize on in the final minutes of play and the Freeze scored the final five points of regulation to push the game into overtime.
The overtime period played out in favor of the Freeze, but it wasn’t without a fight from the Bearcats. The Bearcats fell to the Freeze 49-52 and their season ended with a 15-8 overall record.
“We knew it was going to be a battle from start to finish. When we get together with the Freeze, neither side gives an inch. They were able to make a few more plays over the course of the game that gave them the win. Both sides have a lot of fight in them, and everyone who saw these two teams play each other this year can appreciate that fact.“
Scoring leaders: Cora Kujava 21, Lexi Turn 8, Kasey Soliah 7, Kiley Whitlock 4, Tea Jerome 4, Andi Strege 3, Mallori Davis 2
Rebound leaders: Kiley Whitlock 15, Kasey Soliah 4, Mallori Davis 4
Assist leaders: Lexi Turn 5, Kasey Soliah 3, Tea Jerome 3