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Tigers lose a heartbreaker

February 28, 2020 by Brett LaBore

Regionals are here for the Mercer girls’ basketball team and they took a long road trip to Frederic on Tuesday night.

In heartbreaking fashion, Frederic snuck out with a 45-43 win in overtime.

“We came out flat and missed layups and free throws,” explained coach Vic Saeger. “We couldn’t get our offense in sync.”

In overtime, Frederic just outscored the Tigers 6-4, using free throws to their advantage. Kennady Dueholm sunk three free throws in overtime and Hannah Schmidt one free throw.

“They scored first and it was a close two-point game,” Saeger said. “It just didn’t go our way.”

The Tigers’ four points came from Ella Torkelson. She made a free throw and knocked down a 3-pointer.

“Ella Torkelson had a really good game,” Saeger said. “The last month of the season played really, really, really good.”

Frederic outscored the Tigers 22-12 in the first half of a low scoring game. The half was highlighted by Tessa Domagala scoring eight points on four field goals. Schmidt missed five free throw attempts in the first half. She went 3 of 8 from the line in the first half, keeping the Tigers in the game.

Leading scorer Zoe Botes struggled to get going. She had just one point in the first half. Torkelson led the Tigers with seven first half points, making one 3-pointer.

“The big key was the ball didn’t fall for us - open layups and shots that didn’t go in and we got out rebounded. Their offense got offensive rebounds and put backs,” Saeger said.

Down by 14 at one point in the first half, the Tigers clawed their way back to make it 10 points at halftime.

“Just kind of slowly, methodically gained our way back in striking distance,” Saeger said.

The Tigers’ scoring output in the second half improved. They did get Botes going a little bit. Botes scored 11 points in the second half. Ava Barton chipped in two free throws and Jessica Klopatek scored two points.

KD Knipp came in averaging around 10 points per game over the last few games. She scored just one point in the contest on a free throw.

Schmidt scored 12 of Frederic’s 17 second half points. She made 6 of 8 on free throws in the second half, a much better percentage than the first. Not only that, but Schmidt used her size to corral numerous rebounds and offensive put backs.

“We couldn’t stop her from rebounding,” Saeger said. “She’s like a bull. She would get the ball and we couldn’t stop her. She muscled her way in and put the ball back up. She was way better than I thought she was going to be — kind of unstoppable.”

Only two other players scored field goals in the second half for Frederic.

With 1:30 to go in the game, Frederic had a five-point lead. Torkelson stepped up and drilled a huge 3-pointer. 

“It seemed like those last three-four minutes of game we were in sync and playing like we were those last three-four games,” Saeger said.

Now down two points, Jessica Klopatek forced a turnover out of bounds under the Tigers’ basket. The Tigers’ ran another inbounds’ play to perfection.

“We ran an inbounds play and Zoe scored with 15 seconds to send it into overtime,” Saeger said.

Tied at 39-39 with 12 seconds left, Frederic pushed to get one more shot off. Knipp got a steal and had the ball one on one with a defender. Saeger quickly called a timeout with three seconds to go.

They ran a play to get Knipp open again. She passed it to Botes who couldn’t handle the ball fast enough to get a shot off. 

The game went to overtime.

The Tigers’ season ends with a 12-11 record, 8-8 in the Indianhead.

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].

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