|Muenster pulls out win over NH|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Feb. 20, 2004 -- HOWE -- How many points separate the No. 5-ranked team in the state from the No. 8 team? None, in four quarters.
It took fifth-ranked Muenster an overtime period to escape the Class 1A, Division I area round playoff game with a tense 44-39 win over eighth-ranked North Hopkins Friday night.
The North Hopkins girls (31-4) fought back from a nine-point deficit in the fourth period against the taller Lady Hornets (25-4), but neither team could put the game away in the waning seconds of regulation, which ended in a 38-38 tie. Muenster then outscored NH, 6-1, in overtime behind the play of 5-11 Brooke Endres, who finished with 11 points, 19 rebounds and four blocked shots
"They're a really good team, and we knew that going in," said NH head coach Tim Menke. "It's a shame that it was a second-round game and one team had to be eliminated.
"I liked our chances going into overtime. We had come back from nine points down, and I thought we had a good chance to keep it rolling there."
Sophomore post Katy Williams was integral in the Lady Panthers' comeback, scoring eight of her game-high 19 points in the fourth period and pulling down six of her 16 rebounds. But, it was a defensive play that seemed to ignite North Hopkins.
With about six minutes to go and Muenster leading, 34-27, Williams cut off Muenster's JoAnna Felderhoff in the lane, drawing a charging call. That play, coupled with a pair of key steals from Hope Harber and Lindsey Horne, set the Lady Panthers on an 11-4 run to close out the game.
The run started with Harber knocking down a 15-foot jumper, continued with Sara Weir converting an offensive rebound into a free throw, a lay-up by Horne off a Harber steal, and three straight buckets by Williams -- the final soft left-handed floater tied the game at 38-38 with 1:35 to play.
Muenster had two chances at one-and-ones in the final 76 seconds, but missed both. The final came with 10 seconds to play, when 6-0 post Melinda Walterscheid, who finished with 18 points, back-rimmed the front end of the one-and-one, but the ball was rebounded by her teammate Endres, who missed.
The second rebound was picked up by NH freshman Ebbonye Johnson with about seven seconds to play. She sped downcourt, and when the whistle blew with two seconds to play, North Hopkins fans were hoping for a reach-in foul in the lane, but the officials called double-dribble, and the game was headed for overtime.
Endres scored three points in overtime for Muenster and blocked a key shot with 18 seconds to play.
"I was really proud of the kids because we had a lot of mismatches, size-wise tonight," Menke said. "We just told the kids that we thought we were faster than they were, and we could play good perimeter defense.
"Our post defense, I thought, was excellent. I know they got most of their points inside tonight, but they're a post-oriented team. That's what they do. All three girls who played post defense for us tonight -- Hope Harber, Katy Williams and Lindsey Horne -- did a wonderful job. I thought our defensive pressure was really good."
Both teams played excellent defense, as NH applied full-court pressure most of the game and Muenster used a trapping zone.
North Hopkins forced 31 Muenster turnovers, led by four steals each from Harber and Williams. The Lady Hornets hit 18-of-45 shots (40 percent), while North Hopkins made 15-of-53 (28 percent).
Weir added 11 points for the Lady Panthers and made the team's only field goal -- one of her two 3-pointers on the night -- during a 9 1/2-minute drought in the second half in which the Lady Hornets took the nine-point lead.
The Lady Panthers came back, but could never get the lead and left the gym broken-hearted.
"Our kids have a lot of heart, they always have," Menke said. "They play hard, they practice so hard. Our practices were so hard, and that was the key
"We're upset we lost, but we understand that happens in basketball. We wish them well because they have a nice team."
Notes: Williams had to change jerseys early in the overtime period after getting blood on her No. 53. She finished wearing No. 42. ...Seniors Horne, Harber, Mary Casey and Amy Akerhielm, all of whom are four-year lettermen, played their final game. ... Muenster never used a substitute, playing five starters all game.