FF girls redeem themselves at Sexton Arena [UPDATED]Published 11:57am Sunday, March 10, 2013 Updated 12:00pm Monday, March 11, 2013
Wow! That was close.
After going undefeated through the regular season and holding a 2-0 advantage over the Alexandria Cardinals, the Fergus Falls girls basketball team did just enough Friday evening to pull out a 55-54 win.
Many of you Otter girls fans remember the Section 8AAA final two years ago at St. John’s University. The Otters were younger then, but spectators knew that they were a special team that would be competing at the state level eventually. Many, like myself, hoped to see them do just that in the 2010-11 season.
It was a back and forth game that the Otters seemed to control, but a second half surge by the Cardinals and missed free throws allowed Alexandria to claim the section title and a trip to state.
Fans drove home disappointed that evening and even had to face zero visability and blizzard conditions on the ride home.
Shades of deja vu grew over the crowd as the Cardinals fought back from a nine point first half deficit to force a hard fought battle.
Otter assistant coach Norm Newell said it best when referring to the ‘St. John’s Jinx’.
Standing on the court, many fans saw a high paced offense struggle against the Alexandria defense.
The forecast for the evening looked nasty, both inside and outside the arena.
But after a few questionable calls, both ways, the Otters were able to come out of the game victrious, holding the Section 8AAA plaque and celebrating a second state tournament.
After watching Brianna Rasmusson eat up the Cardinals in the first half, the junior point guard got into foul trouble limiting her play.
She played throughout the half with one foul away from sitting on the bench.
“I have a high level of trust with Bri,” Otter Head Coach Brad Strand said. “I knew that she could do it, but I did ask her mom what she thought.”
Bailey Strand was able to pick up where Ramusson had left off in the second half, but Coach Strand also gave a lot of credit to the play of junior post player Anna Monke as she was able to cause a threat underneath the rim.
The Cardinals’ Amanda Christian continued to plague the Otters throughout the game and nearly ended their state dreams on a last second shot.
Getting back to the questionable calls, fans on both sides of the court would argue that the game was officiated in a unflattering way.
A misunderstood timeout allowed an Alexandria player to sneak under the hoop for an easy bucket, a over the back call that turned into a out of bounds turnover and the final play of the game even had speculation as Christianson drove into an Otter player, looking like the last play of the Super Bowl.
In the end, the game was a exactly what a title game should be like: drama, ups, downs, anger, pain and triumph.
The Otters will now go onto state, while the Alexandria Cardinals will go home.
The road to the state tournament has gone through both these teams for the past three seasons.
And looking at the rosters, we should have another memorable title game next year when most of this year’s team becomes seniors.