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After beating Roosevelt easily in the first round of the district playoffs at Roosevelt on Monday, Cassie Breen and the Woodhaven Warriors found themselves in a life-and-death struggle with fierce rival Anderson Wednesday night. The Warriors prevailed 56-54 in overtime.
Basketball - Girls
GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Carlson, Woodhaven to meet in district finals (PHOTOS)
After running past Kennedy in the first round of district play Monday night, Maggie Herman and the Carlson Marauders came back Wednesday and beat Riverview to advance to Friday’s final against Downriver League co-champ Carlson, which beat the other co-champ, Anderson, 56-54 in overtime in a district semifinal game Wednesday. Photo by Dave Chapman.
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Last season, the teams saw the same situation in districts and this season each handed the other its only Downriver League loss of the season, with Anderson getting the last win.
Wednesday night both teams were looking for revenge and it was the Warriors who prevailed after two intense overtimes.
The Titans trailed 41-30 at the end of the third quarter after Woodhaven’s Hailey Liedel knocked in a triple at the buzzer.
The Titans chipped away in the final quarter and a field goal followed by two free-throws from Sarah Kircos put the Titans within two, and Amani Corley’s free throws 20 seconds later tied the game.
With 41 seconds to go, Brianna Brenna’s free throws put the Warriors up by four but Corley put her team back within two 20 seconds later.
The Warriors held on to their 45-43 lead but with three seconds left, Anderson’s Laekyn Jaciuk tied the game and forced the first overtime.
With 1:14 left in the first overtime, Woodhaven’s Salina Shubik stole the ball and found Brennan and the Warriors were up by three.
But Jaciuk came up big again with a field goal and a free-throw to force a second overtime.
In the final overtime, free-throws helped the Warriors to a 57-50 advantage but once again Jaciuk showed up, this time with two triples and put the Titans within one.
With 11 seconds left, Shubik had one last free throw attempt and the Warriors held on to their 58-56 lead.
Earlier in the game, the Titans took a 7-0 lead just over a minute into the game but the Warriors’ triples showed up and quickly made it a 7-6 game.
“Our triples came from a freshman,” Woodhaven Coach Doug Simons said. “Lyndsey Brennan came in and knocked down two threes in a row and she’s not one of our starters.
“That was huge for us, absolutely huge.”
The triples kept coming but it was the Anderson offense that prevailed and the Titans led 18-14 at the end of eight.
With 2:30 left in the second quarter, the teams were tied at 24 and the Warriors went on a run of their own and led 29-24 at the half.
Simons knew how close the game would be, but he didn’t imagine the overtimes.
“Honestly, I don’t know about the two overtimes, but that is exactly what we expected,” he said. “Coach and I talked about it before the game. We both knew it.
“It was just one of those we knew they weren’t gonna give in.”
Anderson Coach Larry Sakalas knew his team still had a shot, despite getting down by 11 at one point.
“We didn’t help ourselves by putting us down,” he said. “We started off really well and they battled back so we had to crawl and get back.
“But the thing is, is that with our abilities, we’re never really out of a game. When we picked one up, they picked one up.”
Sakalas too, knew the game would be close between the two dominating teams.
“We’re a good basketball team,” he said. “Woodhaven and us, we’re both good basketball teams, and unfortunately for us, the offseason begins.
“My hat’s off to Woodhaven. They played great. Cassie Breen and Brianna Brenna and Whitley Currie. They were all outstanding.”
Despite being down, the Titans knew they could never give up.
“Our motto’s never give up,” Sakalas said. “No matter what, never give up cause you never know what’s gonna happen.
“We battled and didn’t give up and we battled to the end and even had a shot there to win it.”
Simons knew his Warriors would not give up either.
“We told our girls, we’ve got seven seniors sitting in this locker room. We knew that our girls absolutely wanted it more. We felt it,” he said. “They (Anderson) played like they wanted it just as bad.
“It was one of those where we knew it was gonna be back and forth. I don’t know why, but I actually got comfortable in the third, but then the game was actually just starting.”
There were 11 timeouts called over the course of the game, and in each one the Warriors had the same game plan: stop Corley.
“She is the kid that makes that team flow,” Simons said. “If you can disrupt her in any way shape or form, you’ve got a chance.
“Late in the game, we called that timeout. I told everybody we’re gonna stop Corley no matter what. Everybody’s gonna help.”
Simons was very pleased with the defensive efforts of Allison Manning and her work on stopping Corley.
“We all look at Bri Brennan finishing this game, we look at Cassie Breen hitting some shots and handling the ball. But I thought Allison Manning was the key denying Corley all night,” he said. “She frustrated her just enough in that first half for us to get back in it.”
The Warriors were led by Brianna Brennan just short of a double-double with 22 points and nine rebounds.
Curie (12 rebounds) and Breen (four rebounds) had nine points each, Lyndsey Brennan finished with eight points, and Manning had six.
Anderson’s Tinara Moore led all scorers with her double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds.
Kircos followed close behind with 13 points and seven rebounds, Jaciuk had 11 points and six rebounds and Corley finished with 10 points.
Despite the loss, Sakalas wished the Warriors the best.
“I wish them all the best,” he said. “I hope they go ahead and win a district and move on and go to regionals, regional finals and everything else.
“They’re a great basketball team. It’s been a fun rivalry and the measuring stick’s back up.”
With the win, Woodhaven advances to Friday’s district finals where they will face Gibraltar Carlson.
“That’ one of those where we don’t take them lightly only because Carlson has give us fits in the past,” Simons said. “They’ve been struggling as of late, but it’s amazing in a district game when you get a win.
“All that stuff is forgotten. Now you’re playing (and) that’s what it’s all about. I guarantee you they’ll be ready to play.”
Carlson 41, Riverview 38
In the early game, the Carlson Marauders defeated Riverview 41-38.
Sarah Carlson got things started early, going three-for-four in the opening quarter and added a field goal and a triple to give the Marauders a 12-10 lead after eight.
The first quarter was very back and forth and the teams found themselves tied four times during the course of it.
Michala Burke paced the Bucs in the quarter with six points, but Riverview found themselves down 27-20 at the half.
The third quarter found the team spending most of the time in Carlson’s offensive zone but the Marauders were only able to add four points to the score.
When Riverview got a chance, the Carlson defense proved strong and held the Bucs scoreless in the quarter.
The final quarter was almost all free-throws and the Marauders went six-for-10, while Riverview went eight-for-14.
The teams found themselves within four points with 10 seconds to go, and the Marauders held on for their win.
Carlson Coach Phil Carlson knew the game would be close heading into the contest.
“It was a fun game. We talked about how it would be a tough game for us,” he said. “Our press wasn’t as effective. They practiced against that. I think they scored a lot of their points off beating our press.
“Every time we seemed to start cracking it open, they’d get back.”
The Marauders are climbing out of a rough streak at the end of the regular season and Carlson is pleased with his team’s efforts.
“I’m just proud of the girls,” he said. “When push came to shove, instead of collapsing like we’ve done in the second half of the season; they’d give up that win, they went up and they hit their free throws.
“They went up there, they got it done, and I’m just really proud of them.”
Carlson knew his team was frustrated after only getting two points in the second but told them to keep focused.
“And the end of the third, I said listen, we held them scoreless. We’re getting our looks. If it’s not going in, we still have to keep playing,” he said. “Keep shooting. They’re gonna make a run.
“The biggest thing in the fourth quarter when they make their run is we have to hold our composure and play smart basketball. And we did.”
Sarah Carlson led all scorers with her 19 points. So far on the week, she has 50 points in two games.
Maggie Herman finished with 10 points and Becca Browning had two triples.
The Bucs were led by Buke with her double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Angela Zammit finished with eight points and three rebounds, and Anna Vega had seven points and nine rebounds.
The Marauders will now face Woodhaven in Friday’s district finals.
“Our girls, we’re gonna come ready to play,” Carlson said. “We got our hands full, but we’re gonna compete.”
Last Updated: 3/1/2013 1:42:37 PM EST