2 overtimes to decide it: Gwinn girls basketball team holds off Bark River-Harris 61-58 in double overtime
“I felt like we were in the same situation three times in a row.” — Ben Olsen, Gwinn girls basketball head coach, on winning the game in the second overtime
GWINN — The high school sports fans who braved the icy and snow-covered roads during the latest winter storm event on Monday night were in for quite the treat on the basketball court at Gwinn High School.
That’s because the Bark River-Harris and Gwinn made sure those fans got their money’s worth.
It took plenty of extra time, but the Modeltowners prevailed in their season opener, topping the Broncos 61-58 in a double-overtime thriller.
“The curse is over,” shouted Gwinn head coach Ben Olsen following the game, as it was his team’s first win over the Broncos since the 2014-15 season. BR-H had taken the previous four contests before Monday’s barnburner.
The win was backed by a 20-point night from Marissa Delmont, 11 of those coming in the fourth quarter to help her team climb back into the game after the Broncos built a 40-34 advantage after three.
Teammate Emily Curtice also added 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Megan Ruokolainen finished with 11 points.
“It was a weird game,” Olsen said. “I felt like we were in the same situation three times in a row. End of regulation, we were up two and they have the ball. They run the pick-and-roll play and get a basket and it’s like ‘All right, kudos to them’; the same situation in the first overtime, they run it again and get another layup.
“Finally, I guess the third time’s the charm for us. We were finally able to get a poke out there and finally end that thing.”
The poke Olsen is referring to was one by Gwinn’s Tianna Taylor. With the Modeltowners up 60-58 in the waning seconds of the second OT and Bark River-Harris looking for the game-tying shot yet again, Taylor made a steal of the ball from Broncos’ leading scorer Grace Peterson.
Taylor hit one of two free throw attempts as she was fouled with two seconds remaining, which all but sealed the deal.
After Taylor missed the second free throw which kept it a three-point game, a last-second, Hail Mary halfcourt heave from BR-H’s Makena Lockwood came close, but wouldn’t fall as the Modeltowners improved to 1-0 while the Broncos dropped to 1-1.
“Kudos to (Bark River-Harris) for battling and battling and battling and battling,” Olsen said.
Broncos first-year head coach Matt Richer credited his team’s effort in the loss, despite coming up on the short end of this one.
“It was sad to see anyone lose,” he said. “I wish it were Gwinn (losing), but our girls played hard. We got a really nice lead and then kind of gave it up on some stupid plays, but we fought hard.
“We worked hard and that’s a really good effort we gave. We never quit, we hit some tough shots as did Gwinn, and it was a great, fun game for the fans to watch.”
Richer added that the Modeltowners are going to be a good team and was happy that his team took them to the wire.
“I think Gwinn is going to be one of the better teams in the area,” he said. “Like I was telling the girls before, this is a good measuring stick on where we might be at early on in the season.
“There’s stepping stones and things like that and I think we were right there with (Gwinn). They’ve got two of the better guards (Curtice and Delmont) we’ll see all year and we did a good job on them.”
Peterson finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Broncos, while Riley Arndt had 12 points. Allison Richer chipped in with eight points.
Gwinn held a narrow 18-17 lead after one quarter and was up 29-26 at halftime.
The Broncos outscored Gwinn 14-5 in the third to build a six-points headed to the final period of regulation. Peterson hit a layup for BR-H to open the fourth and make it an eight-point game, and that’s when Delmont came to life.
The Broncos added one more basket during the sequence, but two successful and-1 plays and a stepback triple from Delmont made it a one point game at 44-43 with 3:47 to play.
Gwinn then took the lead back after a steal and layup from Curtice with just over three minutes remaining.
Later on with Gwinn up 51-49, another Peterson layup with six seconds remaining tied the game 51-51. The Modeltowners were unable to get a shot off in the final seconds, sending the game to overtime No. 1.
In the first four-minute frame, a triple from Richer put the Broncos up 55-53 with 1:55 to play. Ruokolainen answered that with a layup, which came with an assist from Lena Pleugh to tie things up again with 50 seconds remaining.
After a BR-H steal, Cara Zawacki had a shot to end it at the buzzer, but her 3-point attempt fell short and the deadlock continued at 55-55.
Pleugh opened OT No. 2 with a 3-ball from the top to make it 58-55 with 2:34 to play. The teams traded free throws and Arndt made a layup to cut the Gwinn lead to one with 1:56 remaining.
The game came down to the charity stripe after that as Arndt fouled out with 31 seconds remaining and Taylor sunk one of her two free throws to make it 60-58.
After two timeouts from Bark River-Harris to set up its last shot, that’s when Taylor picked up her steal to all but cap the Modeltowners’ victory.
Gwinn shot 35.8 percent from the field, going 19 of 53. The Broncos were a bit better, making 23 of 55 for 41.8 percent.
The Modeltowners received the bulk of free throws, going 18 of 31 for 58 percent while Bark River-Harris was 8 of 14 for 57.1 percent.
BR-H collected 38 rebounds to Gwinn’s 33.
While Olsen was ecstatic about the victory, he knows there’s still some things that need to be shored up as his team now prepares for Iron Mountain on Friday.
“Defensively, I’m going to have to go back on film and see what was going on. We’ve been working hard on our defensive end and I feel like we gave up a lot of back cuts, a lot of them cutting our faces, we gave up a lot of post touches and offensive rebounds, it’s obviously stuff we’ve got to clean up.
“It feels good winning, but there’s also a lot of things we need to figure out. Offensively, 60 points should win you a lot of basketball games even though we essentially played five quarters. Sixty points should win you a lot, but you can’t give up 58. Even in five quarters, I think we gave up too much. We’re going to get back into the gym and work on the defensive side of it.”
Bark River-Harris hosts North Dickinson on Friday.
Email Ryan Spitza at firstname.lastname@example.org.