When Lauren Osterhaus drilled a three at the buzzer Dec. 15, it knotted their game against the Cardinals of Maquoketa and sent them to overtime. And not just one extra frame but two that ended with a 69-62 Blazer win.
All night the Blazers had played catch-up with the taller Cardinals. After watching an 8-3 lead disappear in the first, they trailed 18-15 at the quarter break. The lead grew to four at the half, 22-18. It was 40-33 to start the fourth when Lil McDermott made two free throws, Osterhaus added one and Kennedy Arens converted a steal into a basket to get it back to four, 42-38. That’s when McDermott took control, hit back-to-back threes and added a charity shot to knot the game at 45. But Cardinal Madi Lemke hit the first of two free throws and teammate Jackie Miller rebounded her second miss for a 48-45 lead with about 20 seconds to go. Enter Osterhaus and her game-saving three.
In the first overtime, Miller scored first, matched by Jenna Lansing’s lay-up off a McDermott pass. Lemke put them up again by one, negated when McDermott drilled an open eight-footer. Osterhaus added double free throws and the Blazers led 54-51 with just over a minute left. Miller dropped two bonus shots, matched by McDermott, but Tenley Cavanaugh hit a three with 13 seconds left to send the teams to the second overtime, 56-56.
Neither team scored right away before a big rumble on the floor, that saw the ball hot-potato between various players, ended with it in McDermott’s hands. Her driving lay-up added a plus-one and the Blazers led 59-56. Keeley Schmitt added another bunny and it was 61-56. Carley Davis, the other half of Maquoketa’s tall inside game, hit one and Schmitt made one of two at the line to make it 62-58.
Miller got two back before Arens uncharacteristically missed both sides of her charity shots, 62-60 with just over a minute to go. Arens redeemed those misses with a three-ball and Osterhaus added two bonus shots to pretty much seal the win, 67-60, with 34 seconds left. Lemke’s two free throws ended Cardinal scoring but they fouled McDermott and her makes with 25 seconds to go ended all scoring.
Coach Chad Thomason was thrilled with the win. “Wow, what a great win! I am so proud of how the girls played and how hard they fought. They found a spark in the second half and took it all the way to the end.
“We did a better job of taking care of the little things. There are still a lot of things we can work on but hopefully, this gives us some momentum going forward.”
Beckman’s leaders were: scoring — McDermott 21 (three treys), Arens 21 (two), Osterhaus 12 (one), Lansing six, Schmitt five, Kam Klas four; rebounds — Schmitt nine, Lansing six, Klas five, Osterhaus and McDermott two; steals — Osterhaus four, Arens, Schmitt and McDermott one; blocks — Lansing three; assists — Klas and McDermott four, Osterhaus three, Schmitt one; team turnovers — 14.
The Blazers made it two straight with a 58-36 win at West Delaware, Dec. 18. After beginning the second quarter knotted at 8-8, the Blazers turned on the pressure and scored 22 points while holding the Hawks to just nine, leading 30-17 at halftime. It was 43-27 at the start of the fourth quarter and they added to the margin with solid free throw shooting.
Three players reached double numbers for the Blazers: Arens with 11 (one) and both Osterhaus and McDermott 10 (one). Other scoring included: Schmitt eight, Klas and Lansing seven, Shelby Pirc four, Isabell Kruse one. Additional stats were: rebounds — Klas eight, Arens and Lansing four, Schmitt three, McDermott, Osterhaus and Kruse one; steals — Osterhaus and McDermott six, Arens four, Lansing three, Pirc two, Schmitt and Klas one; blocks — Lansing two, Klas, Osterhaus and Arens one; assists — Osterhaus four, Arens and McDermott three, Klas one; team turnovers — 21.
Thomason concluded, “Our defense won this one for us. When you get 23 steals, you should win. The problem was we also had 21 turnovers. We can’t do that and win close games. Our effort was great but we just need to play smarter.”