Braves triumph in triple OT thriller

MENOMINEE – Free-throw shooting was an anchor for the Gladstone girls before it turned into a lifeline in a Saturday matinee marathon at Menominee.

Gladstone overcame a dreadful 17 of 38 struggle from the line to outlast Menominee for a 49-46 triple-overtime Great Northern Conference victory.

“It was definitely a war of attrition,” said Menominee coach Lucas Chouinard. “The girls fought hard for 44 minutes. We play Gladstone in the first game of the (district) tournament. We showed we can play with them, but we wanted the win.”

Junior Jess Beaudry sank two free throws with 1:48 left in the third overtime to give Gladstone a 48-44 lead.

Courtney Conery connected from the key to cut the lead in to two points with 1:40 remaining.

After the Braves got the ball out-of-bounds twice following scrambles for the ball, Beaudry sank a free throw to give Gladstone it’s three-point margin with 13 seconds left.

Allia Stewart’s 3-pointer from the wing skimmed across the left side of the rim and then bounced off the right side of the iron as the horn sounded.

“We have a young team and an intense game like this helps us get better,” Gladstone coach Karl Dollhoph said.

The pressuring defenses of the teams forced 44 turnovers. Neither team was able to build more than a four-point lead for the final 28 minutes of the game.

Amanda Pedersen gave the Maroons a 37-35 lead with 1:39 left in regulation but junior Christine Sharon’s drive and spin to the hoop tied the game with 1:07 left.

The Maroons worked the clock down before a 15-foot shot fell short.

Sophomore Lexi Hongisto’s free throw gave the Braves a 40-38 lead with 51 seconds remaining in the first OT. Paige Owens drilled in a shot from the corner to tie the game with 30 seconds left. Alison Austin’s bid for a game-winner from the corner rattled in an out with five seconds left.

In the second overtime, Karli Barley popped in a pair of inside shots to lift the Maroons to a 44-40 lead with 3:16 left.

Beaudry converted from the paint and the Braves forced a turnover with 55 seconds left. Austin ripped down an offensive rebound and stroked in two from the line to pull the Braves even (44) with 40 seconds left.

Gladstone had missed nine of its last 10 free throws before Austin’s clutch effort at the line.

“That’s what we expect from a senior,” said Dollhopf. “We expect our seniors to make big plays.”

Menominee worked the clock down to two seconds when Barley’s inside shot bounced off the rim.

The Maroons staged a 14-0 run to build an 18-7 lead with 6:40 left in the first half.

Stewart had three steals during and four points during the surge and Conery capped the run with a 3-ball from the corner.

“We came out of the gate running. We played a very good defensive game,” Chouinard said. “The defensive intensity was definitely up. We set the tempo defensively.”

Dollhoph noted that he put five fresh players into the game before the Maroons’ made their run.

“They came in cold and we had a hard time getting into a groove offensively,” he explained.

The Braves lashed back with a 14-3 run to even the score at 21-21 at halftime. Beaudry scored six points during the closing flurry by the Braves.

Barley led the Maroons with 12 points and nine rebounds. Amanda Pedersen had 10 points before fouling out with 1:43 remaining in the first overtime.

Menominee sank 20 of 52 shots and were 4 of 10 from the line.

Beaudry topped the Braves with 16 rebounds and collected eight rebounds. Junior Anna Wulf had 12 points.

The Braves (9-6) improve to 3-3 in the Great Northern Conference while the Maroons (7-9) slip to 0-6.

Gladstone won the junior varsity game 45-42. Carly Devet led the Braves with 18 points and Anna Caramella had 14.