Devils dash Niles hopes
Published 10:33 pm Friday, November 28, 2003
By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
MARSHALL -- When Lindsey Deyo made the first of her two free throws with three seconds left on the clock, Gull Lake coach Mike Balcom pumped his fist and said, "That's it!"
Deyo made her second free throw as well to give the Blue Devils a 56-48 victory over Niles in the Class B Regional championship game Wednesday night at Marshall High School.
Balcom had good reason to be relieved following Deyo's free throw which gave Gull Lake a seven-point lead. His team missed as many free throws as Niles took and made just 9-of-21 in the fourth quarter.
The Blue Devils' ineffectiveness at the free throw line gave the Vikings plenty of time and opportunities to tighten up the score, but Niles could not manage much offense late in the game. Amber Peters made 5-of-8 free throws in the last four minutes and Brandie Radde made her only 3-pointer of the game, but Gull Lake responded to each score with field goals and free throws of its own.
Reserve post player Christina Edwards made three field goals in the fourth quarter and the Blue Devils broke the Niles press for a pair of layups.
Gull Lake started the third quarter with a 7-0 run to pull ahead by eight points, only to have Niles roar back and take a 35-34 lead with 2:24 left in the period. It would be the Vikings' last lead as Edwards converted a three-point play to end the quarter's scoring.
Gull Lake's defensive strategy was to shut down the Vikings' outside shooters, which connected on eight 3-pointers in Monday's semifinal victory over Marshall. The Devils were successful in that effort as Niles' only 3-pointer came with 23 seconds left in the game.
Fortunately for Gull Lake, the Vikings' two top inside threats were nearly neutralized as well. Starting center Melissa Olsen and backup Kate Whittaker both struggled with foul trouble. Whittaker fouled out with 3:12 left in the game after scoring six points. Olsen did not score.
Niles, which averages nearly 40 rebounds per game, had just 23 boards as a team.
The Vikings finish the season with a record of 22-3 while Gull Lake improves to 21-4 and advances to the quarterfinals Tuesday night at Charlotte High School against the winner of the Byron Center Regional Tournament.
Niles graduates two seniors in Jessica Johnson and Ashley Spriggs. The Vikings return three juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen next season.
Gull Lake: Dani Schurr 2 6-12 10, Monica Gooch 1 2-5 4, Caiti Gallagher 1 2-2 5, Ashley Mellema 1 0-0 2, Megan Vrobel 2 1-2 5, Autumn Chamley 2 0-2 5, Lindsey Deyo 4 4-6 12, Christina Edwards 5 2-3 12, Kelli Throop 0 1-2 1. Totals: 18 18-35 56
Niles: Ashley Pingel 3 2-3 8, Amber Peters 4 5-8 13, Jessica Johnson 0 0-0 0, Brandie Radde 7 0-0 13, Sarah Dreher 1 0-0 2, Jessica Shinsky 0 0-0 0, Kate Whittaker 2 4-6 6, Melissa Olsen 0 0-0 0, Ashley Spriggs 2 0-0 4. Totals: 19 11-17 48
Gull Lake 12 14 11 19--56
Niles 13 12 10 13--48
3-point shooting: Gull Lake 2 (Gallagher, Chamley), Niles 1 (Radde). Team fouls (fouled out): Gull Lake 13 (none), Niles 24 (Whittaker). Team records: Gull Lake 22-3, Niles 21-4