FRAZEE, Minn. - According to Hawley girls basketball coach Bill Gottenborg, it was an "old Hawley play." What it looked like was a
3-pointer senior Drew Sannes had no intention of passing up even with two Frazee defenders in her face.
Whatever it was, it gave the Class 2A's No. 9-ranked Nuggets a 36-35 lead with 30 seconds left, as they held on to beat the Hornets by that score and clinch the Heart O'Lakes Conference outright.
"I had to take it for my team," said Sannes, who had a game-high 16 points and five rebounds. "We were getting down to the end of the game and we were down, so I had to take it. It felt awesome."
The final 30 seconds did not feel awesome for the stress level of any fan, player or coach attending the game. Ashley Bachmann missed a go-ahead 3-pointer on the ensuing possession for Frazee and Hawley's Mira Ellefson came down with the board. There was 16 seconds left in the game and the Hornets still needed five fouls to put the Nuggets on the line. The Nuggets were 16 seconds and a few free throws away from winning a conference title.
Frazee had other plans. Katie McCorquodale forced a jump ball with the possession arrow going to the Hornets with 13.9 seconds left. The Hornets were called for traveling on the ensuing possession and Hawley had the ball with four seconds left. Hawley (18-4, 10-1), however, couldn't get the ball inbounded, was called for a five-second violation and the Hornets had the ball under their own basket with four seconds left.
Alexis Tappe missed a 3-pointer and Taylor Tappe missed the desperation putback and Hawley had their conference championship after the longest 16 seconds of the season.
"That was the goal all season," Gottenborg said about winning the conference outright. "I'm very proud of the kids. They worked hard for this. When you win close games it gets you that confidence and it relaxes you in those types of situations because you've been there before."
The biggest lead of the night was seven points, which Frazee (18-5, 7-4) had at 19-12 early on. Hawley closed the first half on a 7-2 run to close the Hornet lead to two. With 10 minutes left in the game Frazee led 25-23, but the Nuggets answered again with an 8-0 run capped off with a
3-pointer from Ellefson.
"We did not want to share this conference," said Ellefson, who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. "We really wanted this one."
Frazee really wanted to keep a chance at sharing the conference title alive and answered Hawley's 8-0 run with a 10-run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Bachmann to take a 35-31 lead with four minutes to go. It was not enough, as Morgan Aakre hit a jumper with 3 minutes, 52 seconds left and Sannes netted the winner to give Hawley nine wins in a row.
"I have to give our kids credit for battling," Frazee coach Dave Conzemius said. "Sannes hit a big-time shot. She's a stud and she proved it on that play. It was good for our kids to see that we can play with Hawley."
H (18-4, 10-1: Noreen 2 0-0 6, Aakre 2 0-0 4, Ellefson 3 3-4 10, Sannes 5 4-4 16.
F (18-5, 7-4): T. Tappe 3 0-0 8, A. Tappe 4 2-2 11, Barlund 2 1-2 5, Bachmann 3 0-0 9, Seeger 1 0-0 2.
Half: F 21, H 19. 3-point goals: Sannes 2, Noreen 2, Ellefson 1, T. Tappe 2, A. Tappe 1, Bachmann 3. Total fouls: F 9, H 9. Rebounds: F 19 (A. Tappe 6) H 19 (Ellefson 8), Turnovers: F 10, H 9.