Section 8-3A GBB: Cards give Otters huge scare before falling 55-54
The top-ranked Fergus Falls girls' basketball team got the biggest scare of its season before holding on for a last-second win over Alexandria in the 8-3A title game at St. John's University on Friday night.
Cardinals' junior guard Amanda Christianson had one last chance to pull off a huge upset against a team that came in beating opponents by an average of 27 points per game. She got the ball with 5.8 seconds left and went the length of the court but wasn't able to get a shot up in a crowded lane. That allowed a now 29-0 Fergus Falls team to take a sigh of relief after holding on for the 55-54 win that punched its ticket to state.
"We kind of prepared [for a close game]," Otters' junior guard Brianna Rasmusson said. "Alex always comes out in the playoffs and plays really hard and has a good game plan. I think this was a really good test for us."
Rasmusson is the straw that stirs the drink for Fergus Falls. So much so that head coach Brad Strand never took her out of the game after she picked up her fourth foul on a charge with 9:58 left and her team up by three.
Rasmusson eventually rewarded that trust by hitting a big three that gave the Otters a 51-46 lead with less than four minutes left. She finished the night with 19 points, while teammate Bailey Strand had a game-high 20 after hitting 11-of-13 free throws.
Christianson was the player that Alexandria head coach Wendy Kohler wanted to have the ball with the game on the line. She caught the inbounds pass along the baseline in the closing seconds and was bumped near mid-court. She was never able to gather herself completely after that. Christianson was able to regain control enough to get the ball into the lane, but she was knocked to the floor without a shot as time expired.
Christianson led three Alexandria players with 19 points, five assists and four rebounds. Senior center Kalli Bowser added 11 points and junior guard Karly Betterman finished with 10 in a heartbreaking end to the season for the Cardinals.
"We were so close," Christianson said. "I'm really proud of how we played. This whole season, no one thought we could be as good as we were. We showed everyone that we were a good team. Obviously I'm super sad and disappointed because I knew we could take that win, but we did our best."
FERGUS FALLS 31 24 - 55
ALEXANDRIA 22 32 - 54
TOTALS - Fergus Falls - FG - 18-44; Three-point FG - 4-12; FT - 15-24; Rebounds - 23; Assists - 6; Steals - 11; Turnovers - 15; Alexandria - FG - 22-40; Three-point FG - 1-6; FT - 9-12; Rebounds - 27; Assists - 11; Steals - 5; Turnovers - 21
FERGUS FALLS - Devonie Smith - 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal; Strand - 20 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals; Hanna Swenson - 5 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists; Anna Monke - 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals; Kristin Sawtell - 1 rebound, 1 assist; Kristin Traiser - 2 points, 2 rebounds
ALEXANDRIA - Christianson - 19 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal; Dani Strater - 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal; Betterman - 10 points; Jessica Syvrud - 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal; Bowser - 11 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block; Emily Thul - 2 points; Macy Hatlestad - 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals; Sarah Bruzek - 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists