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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Falcons outlast Rebels in OT

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Falcon senior Krystle Sell (4) drives downcourt while being guarded by Murray County Central's Colleen Everson (10) during Thursday night's Red Rock Conference girls' basketball game in Slayton.

SLAYTON -- Outscoring Murray County Central 15-6 during the initial nine minutes of the second half Thursday night, the Red Rock Central Falcons went ahead for the first time all night with a 47-44 lead and then prevailed down the stretch to claim a wild 62-57 overtime victory over the Rebels in a key Red Rock Conference girls' basketball game.

RRC (14-3, 11-1) remains in prime contention for one of the top two spots in the league standings (one game behind Adrian), while MCC falls to 13-7 overall and 7-5 in conference play.

"That was a wild ballgame, and I was very proud of how we came back and started playing better as the game progressed," RRC head coach Jeff Shaner said after the game. "We did not get off to a very good start at all, but MCC had a lot to do with that. Both teams may not have looked very good at times tonight, but that's because both teams were playing extremely hard and making things difficult for each other."

Each team applied some full-court pressure and utilized a variety of defensive schemes throughout the game, and as a result, there were a lot of fouls and turnovers -- particularly in the first half.

RRC, which committed 24 total miscues with the ball while forcing MCC into 29 turnovers, outscored the Rebels by 17 points at the free-throw line (21-for-28 compared to 4-for-12) and finished with a 39-32 rebounding advantage.

However, it was the Rebels' offensive-rebounding prowess that helped spark a big MCC surge midway through the first half.

The Rebels scored off the game's opening tip, as senior Kate Robinson (eight points, five rebounds) swished a 17-footer from the right wing five seconds in to make it 2-0 right away.

RRC stayed close and tied the score five times during the opening four-plus minutes, but MCC always held a slight edge and never trailed in the first half.

MCC, which had six putback baskets in the half and several other second-chance looks, led 12-11 with 12:49 showing on the clock, but a 10-0 burst during the next 2:46 increased the gap to 22-11 by the 10:03 mark.

Junior Emily Bose (10 rebounds, four steals, two shot blocks) did most of the damage for the Rebels, as she scored 18 of her game-high 30 points before halftime. She scored on a stick-back opportunity and a sweet fast-break feed from junior Alyssa Schmidt (eight steals, seven points, four assists, three shot blocks) to highlight the 10-0 run.

Also scoring in that run were junior Kasey Schreiber (four points, four rebounds) with a steal and layup, sophomore Abby Van Meveren (seven rebounds, four points) with a put-back hoop and Schmidt with a smooth pull-up jumper in transition.

Three straight buckets in the paint by Bose -- who was 14-for-21 from the field and also broke the all-time rebounding record at MCC and now has 864 career boards -- helped the Rebels extend their lead to 26-12 with 7:40 left and 28-14 at the seven-minute mark.

The Rebels still had a double-digit lead (34-23) with less than three minutes to go, but RRC assembled a 9-2 spurt to slice the deficit to four (36-32) with 50.7 seconds left.

Sophomore Alyssa Fredrickson scored four of her five points to trigger that run, while senior Thea Engen (16 first-half points) scored on a quick left-handed drive down the lane and sank a trio of free throws. Engen finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, five steals and three shot blocks.

Robinson's offensive-rebound basket with four seconds left gave MCC a 38-32 halftime lead, but the Falcons continued to chip into the lead to start the second half and eventually pulled even at 44 following a right-wing 3-pointer by senior Krystle Sell (16 points, seven assists, four steals) at the 9:54 mark.

Sophomore Cierra Nickel (six points, four steals) then made it back-to-back treys with a long-distance shot from the right wing on the Falcons' next possession -- putting RRC up for the first time (47-44) with 9:08 remaining.

MCC regained the lead (50-49) with 5:15 left, as Bose again scored three straight buckets in the lane. But Sell passed to Nickel for another 3-pointer on the right wing to make it 52-50 Falcons at the 4:55 mark.

A big three-point play by junior Stephanie Maras (seven points) following an MCC turnover lifted the Falcons to a 55-50 lead with 4:15 to go, and RRC still led by five (57-52) after a pair of free throws from Sell with 49.9 seconds remaining.

However, MCC scored five straight points to tie the game and send it to overtime. Schmidt swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 32 seconds left, and after a Falcons' turnover, Bose hit a heavily contested 12-footer just outside the lane with 13 seconds remaining to make it 57-57.

But RRC --which turned the ball over with two seconds left on the final possession of regulation -- held MCC scoreless in the three-minute extra period and pulled out the win.

Senior Emily Neperman (nine points, five rebounds) meshed an eight-footer along the right baseline to give the Falcons a 59-57 lead with 1:40 left, and Sell sank three free throws in the last 30.8 seconds to seal the win.

Engen had a couple of key steals in overtime, as MCC turned the ball over on its first four possessions and didn't get a shot off until there were 20 seconds left. The Rebels got off three more shots and a pair of free-throw attempts in the last 15 seconds, but couldn't get one to drop.

"I thought we played much better defensively after halftime, especially against Bose," Shaner said. "We also did a better job on the boards, but we just kept working hard and hustling. It's a big win for us."

Falcon junior Jenna Smith (six rebounds) also contributed to the victory with a perimeter jumper early in the second half. MCC's Colleen Everson, a junior, had four points and three assists.

RRC's next game is Saturday at SMSU in Marshall, beginning at 6 p.m. The Falcons will take on Lakeview as part of girl-boy doubleheader.

MCC hosts Fulda Tuesday.

RRC 32 25 5 -- 62

MCC 38 19 0 -- 57

RRC (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Nickel 2-0-0-6, Sell 1-3-7-16, Maras 0-3-1-7, Smith 0-1-0-2, Engen 0-4-9-17, Neperman 0-4-1-9, Fredrickson 0-1-3-5. Totals: 3-16-21-62.

MCC (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Robinson 0-4-0-8, Schmidt 1-2-0-7, Everson 0-1-2-4, Schreiber 0-2-0-4, Van Meveren 0-2-0-4, Bose 0-14-2-30. Totals: 1-25-4-57.