Jags’ comeback trips up Red Lake at state
ST. PAUL — The Class A girls basketball consolation semifinal between the Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther Jaguars and the Red Lake Warriors was a tale of two halves.
The Jaguars bounced back from a 12-point halftime deficit to beat the Warriors, 69-63, on Friday at Gangelhoff Center on the campus on Concordia University.
“They never give up,” Jaguars head coach Rick Uttech said about his team. “It (the game) just told me a lot about how mentally tough they are.”
Red Lake closed out the season with a 24-4 record.
The Jaguars (27-5) play Southwest Minnesota Christian (26-4) in the consolation championship game at 9 a.m. today at Gangelhoff Center. Southwest Minnesota Christian beat Ada-Borup (28-3), 75-68, in the first consolation semifinal game on Friday.
Until midway through the second half, the Warriors maintained a comfortable lead on the strength of senior guard Grace White’s Steph Curry-like 3-point shooting in the opening frame. Back-to-back 3s allowed the Warriors the early 6-0 lead.
“We knew that (Grace White) could shoot well, we didn’t know she could shoot that far out, so we had to really work to get to her. She would kick it out and another girl would hit a 3,” Uttech said.
White added a pull-up trey to get the Warriors a 21-11 lead before the Jaguars called for a timeout with 8:54 left in the half.
Seconds later, Jaguars senior guard Allyson Cegelske hit a 3 to bring the team’s deficit into single digits. Senior center Kenlie Pytleski later pulled the Jaguars within five, but the Warriors quickly rebuilt their lead. White closed out the half with a 3-pointer to give Red Lake a 40-28 advantage. The Warriors went 8-for-14 from outside the arc in the frame.
White dished an assist to senior guard Danielle Seki for another 3 during the opening minutes of the final half before the Jaguars began their comeback campaign.
Jaguars senior guard Hannah Johanson started the effort, getting a feed from Pytleski for a layup under the basket. Johanson then picked the ball away from the Warriors for a fastbreak layup.
“I had to challenge Hannah Johanson a little bit and say, ‘You can shoot the ball. Don’t quit shooting on us.’ And she didn’t,” Uttech said. “She got her head squared and back on her shoulders. She’s an excellent player.”
Jaguars junior guard Macy Quinn pocketed another steal and missed her shot, but senior forward Hanna Geistfeld was there for the putback. Senior guard Alexis Brummond got another steal-turned-basket, and senior forward Renae Wallace got a putback to get the Jaguars within seven for a 47-40 score with 11:43 to go in the contest.
Alexis Desjerlait was fouled on a 3-point shot and made one of the baskets to end the Warriors’ three-minute scoring drought. Sophomore forward Angel Mcclain added another foul bucket to increase the lead to eight.
But the Jaguars continued to scratch away the deficit and tied the game at 49 via Geistfeld’s two free throw baskets at the 7:33 juncture. Back at the line seconds after, Geistfeld got the Jaguars’ first and final lead with one made foul basket.
“Once our guards started hitting shots, they (Red Lake) had to go outside, so it was easier to get it (the ball) inside,” Geistfeld said.
The Jaguars stretched out to a seven-point lead after a 3-pointer from Johanson and layup from Geistfeld. Playing with four fouls, White tried to get the Warriors back the lead, but the Jaguars did enough to hold on, finishing with the 69-63 win.
“I think we woke up (in the second half),” Uttech joked.
“I think the fans helped a lot. Honestly, the energy really got us going,” Geistfeld said. “We got a few buckets and they were crazy and really brought us back in the game.”
Geistfeld had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Pytleski, who had four assists, totaled 13 points and 10 rebounds, two shy of 1,000 career rebounds, for two Jaguar double-doubles.
Johanson, who is two points away from 1,000 career points, added 16 points with four steals. Brummond neared double-double territory with 13 points and nine rebounds along with a team-best five assists. Quinn dished out four assists.
White topped all scorers with 26 points in addition to eight rebounds, five steals and three assists. Desjerlait scored 12 points, and Angel Mcclain added 10 points. Gerika Kingbird crashed the boards for five rebounds.
Red Lake 40-23–63
Geistfeld 7-14 7-13 21, Johanson 5-10 4-4 16, Pytleski 6-11 1-2 13, Brummond 4-8 4-6 13, Wallace 1-2 1-2 3, Cegelske 1-3 0-0 3, Quinn 0-7 0-0 0. Totals 24-55 17-27 69.
RED LAKE (63)
White 10-20 0-2 26, Desjarlait 3-8 5-7 12, A. Mcclain 2-5 5-9 10, Roy 2-5 2-2 8, Kingbird 2-10 0-0 4, Seki 1-2 0-0 3, K. McClain 0-0 0-2 0, Chaboyea 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-50 12-22 63.
3-pointers: Red Lake 11-23 (White 6-11, Roy 2-2, Seki 1-1, A. Mcclain 1-2, Desjarlait 1-3, Kingbird 0-4); GHECTML 4-13 (Johanson 2-5, Cegelske 1-2, Brummond 1-5, Quinn 0-1, ). Fouled out: A. Mcclain, Desjarlait). Rebounds: GHECTML 44 (Geistfeld 11, Pytleski 10); Red Lake 28 (White 8). Assists: GHECTML 15 (Brummond 5); Red Lake 8 (White 3); Steals: Red Lake 10 (White 5); GHECTML 9 (Johanson 4).