Walnut Grove downs Chamois for Class 1 girls title
Final: Walnut Grove 47, Chamois 46
Saturday, March 9, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Miranda Brandt did all she could. But it wasn’t enough.
Despite 31 points on 14-of-21 shooting and 13 rebounds from the Chamois senior forward, the Lady Pirates dropped a 47-46 decision to top-ranked Walnut Grove in the Class 1 title game Saturday night at Mizzou Arena. A free throw from Heather Harman with 1.1 seconds left gave Walnut Grove the win, the most important of her team-high 20 points.
It was a sort of sweet justice for Walnut Grove, which dropped a one-point decision to Eminence in last year’s title game on a pair of late free throws.
With the game tied at 46 after a game-tying basket from Brandt with 34 seconds left, Walnut Grove played for the last shot. Harmon came off a screen, drove right and was fouled on her layup. Her free throw lifted the top-ranked Lady Tigers (30-2) to their first state title since 2007.
Chamois, in its first title game appearance in school history, finshed the season at 23-8.
Chamois took it right at Walnut Grove in the early going, scoring on its first three possessions to open a 6-0 lead two minutes into the game.
Then the Lady Tigers’ full-court pressure kicked in, forcing nine first-quarter turnovers. That was the catalyst for a run that saw Walnut Grove up 12-10. Brandt’s conventional three-point play with less than a second remaining gave the Lady Pirates a 13-12 lead after one period. She had 11 points in the frame.
It was back-and-forth in the second quarter. Down 15-12, Walnut Grove used a 7-2 run propelled by its pressure defense to go up 19-17 and took a 23-22 edge into halftime. Brandt had 14 first-half points but the Lady Pirates turned the ball over 13 times.
The teams continued trading punches in the third quarter. Brandt started 5-for-5 from the floor in the second, but Walnut Grove always had an answer. A quarter that saw six lead changes ended in a tie at 36. Brandt entered the final period with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Emily Gilbert scored her only four points of the game, tying the game at 36 to close the third quarter and giving Chamois a 38-36 lead to open the fourth.
Chamois had multiple chances to extend the lead but never could. Heather Harman then gave Walnut Grove a 39-38 lead on 3-pointer with 4:35 left. A pair of free throws, followed by a steal and layup, from Lexi Harman made it 43-38.
Chamois cut the lead to 43-42 thanks to four three throws — one from Brandt, two from Alyssa Bullock following a technical foul and one from Alison Mehmert. Heather Harman responded with a 3 to put Walnut Grove up 46-42 but Brandt responded with a bucket to make it 46-44.
After a missed front-end of a one-and-one, Brandt drove down the court and finished to tie the game at 46 with 34 seconds left.
Lexi Harman added 13 points for Walnut Grove. Paige Nolte secured 12 rebounds for Chamois.
The last of six championship games Saturday, the game was set for an 8:40 p.m. start. Running well behind, the contest didn’t get under way until 9:31 p.m.
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