BROOKINGS – Postseason play between a No. 8 and No. 9 seed should come down to the wire, and Friday’s Round of 16 matchup between the Bobcats and Rapid City Central didn’t disappoint as overtime was needed to decide the outcome.
Unfortunately for the higher-seeded hosts, who knocked down a 3-pointer to open the extra time, it was the Cobblers that went on a 9-2 run over the nal 3 1/2 minutes to post a 49-45 win and advance to the state tournament.
“We had 26 turnovers tonight and they shot 17 more free throws than we did – we had 3 1/2 days of really good preparation for this game and they really didn’t do anything that we weren’t expecting – we just didn’t handle some situations under duress as well as we normally do, and I think they made us pay in certain situations,” said Bobcat head coach Lynn Frederick. “The start didn’t help but then we came back; how we handled the last couple minutes of the second quarter where we could have been up nine at halftime, instead we’re only up ve – there were a lot of different scenarios there.
“And we scored to go ahead with 19 seconds left – I think what happened was our girls relaxed when (Central’s Kraig Blomme) got up to call timeout and their point guard went in for a layup, and that’s unchar- acteristic of us – we normally do a great job of transition defense.
“When the game went to overtime, I thought, ‘Here we go,” because we were starting to handle their box-and-one and when Michaela (Jewett) hit that 3 to put us up three, it was a big momentum thing, but they came down and answered. I think you have to give Central credit – they were active; they were aggressive; they are an athletic team.
“I’m proud of our girls – you work all year to get a home game in the playoffs and it’s a one-chance thing – I think we all thought we were going to win the game; the community did a good job of backing us. That’s a tough locker room because that’s a bunch of great kids in there and we’re going to miss those five seniors – it’s a tough way to end the year.
“When you have opportunities to get to the state tournament, you’d like to take advantage of them, but it just didn’t happen tonight, and I think you have to give Coach Blomme and Rapid City Central credit because they made plays when they needed to.”
After Jewett’s 3-pointer gave the ‘Cats a 43-40 lead just 20 seconds into OT, Abbie Freeman answered on the Cobblers’ next possession with her second trey of the contest to tie the game at 43-43.
After Brookings came up empty, Juneau Jones was fouled on Central’s next possession and connected on 1-of-2 from the foul line for a 44-43 advantage before Bailey Johnson went to the line on the Cobblers’ next possession.
The junior point guard dropped both chances to make it 46-43, but Peyton Evans scored after a hustle play to get the ‘Cats within a point with 1:15 to play.
Johnson drew a foul on another drive to the basket and again drained both foul shots for a 48-45 margin with 45.5 seconds on the clock.
Brookings didn’t score on its next possession and had to foul, sending Adison Young to the line with 10.9 seconds left. Young hit the first charity toss – which turned it into a two-possession game at 49-45 – before missing the second, which didn’t matter when a Bobcat 3-point attempt drew iron and the Cobblers came down with the rebound, and a state-tourney berth.
Central scored the first six points of the contest – and led by seven at 9-2 following Johnson’s second 3-pointer – before Brookings closed the quarter with an 8-1 run on an Ava Burns 3; another by Jewett; and a basket in the lane by Jewett for a 10-10 tie after one.
Brookings went up by four points midway through the second following Alli Gordon’s 3-pointer; and then led by seven twice in the last four minutes before Jones converted an offensive-rebound basket to make it 24-19 at halftime.
The Cobblers scored the first six points of the third quarter to take a 25-24 lead at the 4:23 mark, and the teams traded points the rest of the way as Brookings still led, 30-29, through three.
Burns scored in the lane to open the fourth before Evans knocked down a baseline jumper to push the Bobcats’ advantage to five points at 34-29, but Central went on a 6-0 run to go back up, 35-34, with 2:49 to play.
Megan Gilk scored in the lane for a 36-35 Brookings lead before Adison Young’s 3-pointer gave the Cobblers a 38-36 edge with 2:03 left in the game.
Burns drove in the lane and lofted a soft pass to Johanna Miller for a layup to tie the game at 38-38 with 1:48 on the clock, and then, the ‘Cats took a 40-38 lead near the minute mark when Jewett scored off an inbounds play under the Bobcat basket.
Johnson then drove the length of the court and went in for a game-tying layup when the defense didn’t step up to stop the ball – knotting the game at 40-40 and sending it into extra time.
Jewett finished with game-highs of 19 points and eight rebounds to lead Brookings, which ended the season with an 11-10 mark.
Jones scored 18 points, pulled down six boards and came up with five steals to lead the Cobblers, who improved to 9-11 and will face top-seeded Aberdeen Central in the first round of the Class AA State Tournament. Johnson added 13 points and five rebounds, to go along with three assists and a pair of takeaways.
Register photo: Brookings’ Michaela Jewett drops in a layup following an offensive rebound during the second quarter of the Bobcats’ 49-45 overtime loss to Rapid City Central in a Class AA Round of 16 game Friday night at Bob Jostad Gymnasium. Brookings finished the season with an 11-10 record.