Playoff stunner: Hedstrom's buzzer-beater sinks Flyers
DETROIT LAKES - Tuesday's shot heard all the way to Little Falls is what dreams are made out of. Detroit Lakes' junior point guard Courtney Hedstrom lived what only most high school basketball players dream of, after her buzzer-beating three-poin...
DETROIT LAKES - Tuesday's shot heard all the way to Little Falls is what dreams are made out of.
Detroit Lakes' junior point guard Courtney Hedstrom lived what only most high school basketball players dream of, after her buzzer-beating three-point shot was money, which enabled the No. 4 seeded Lakers to advance over the visiting No. 5 Little Falls team 55-52 inside Ralph Anderson Gym.
"Once I had the ball in my hands, I knew I was knocking it down," Hedstrom said of the stunning make. "It's a dream shot."
Hedstrom's amazing capper ended a closely fought game by both teams and sent the Lakers to the Section 8-3A semifinals, which will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. at St. Cloud State University against top-seeded Fergus Falls (22-3), which was a 62-28 victor over St. Cloud Apollo.
There were several contributing factors leading up to Hedstrom's memorable shot, starting with senior guard Kayli Muckenhirn's strip and steal, thus enabling the Lakers to set up for the last shot.
Muckenhirn knocked loose the ball from a Little Falls' guard, then retrieved it with just over 30 seconds left in the game and the game tied 52-52.
"That was huge, a huge steal," said DL head coach Mike Hoganson. "Kayli did a good job defending Paige Beseman, who is a dangerous scorer. But that was a big stop down on their end of the court."
That led to DL eating the clock away, up to the five-second mark, when the ball was fed to senior post Jen Matter just inside the lane and in front of the basket.
"We were looking to get the ball into Jen, because she was coming through all game and we went with a high-low play," Hoganson said. "But the kids are always told to look to kick it back out."
That's exactly what was set up, as three Little Falls' defenders crashed down on Matter.
With seconds waning, Matter saw a wide-open Hedstrom lined up beyond the arc.
"I saw Courtney and I just have lots of confidence in her and she was wide open," Matter said. "I knew she was going to hit it."
When the ball left Hedstrom's hands, the buzzer sounded as it swished through the net.
A wave of red in the form of the DLHS students stormed the floor as the celebration was on.
"This is just huge," Hedstrom said of the win. "We are still playing and this proves every shot counts."
In the previous match up against Little Falls -- a 52-45 loss Jan. 10 -- the Lakers had a tough time containing both Beseman and junior center Whitney Weisz.
Although both still recorded their points -- Weisz with 21 and Beseman with 15 -- the Laker defense still was able to contain both, along with keying the victory by staving off the Flyers' offensive rebounds in the second half.
Little Falls had six offensive rebounds in the first half, leading to 12 of their 27 points.
"The key really was to start rebounding and limiting them to one shot in the second half," the DL coach said.
For the most part, the Lakers took that to heart, as they crashed the defensive boards.
"We just wanted to box out and give them a one and done," Matter added.
The Lakers pulled out to a 32-27 halftime lead, after falling down early 10-4 in the first half.
Matter was finding success in the lane, which contributed the majority of her team-high 19 points, while senior guard Taylor Tschider had another solid game, finished with 13 points.
"Taylor had a fantastic game, she was driving to the hole and slashing to the basket," Hoganson said.
But the momentum turn again came at the buzzer -- this time the halftime one.
The Lakers' leading scorer Muckenhirn was held scoreless up to the last seconds of the first half, when she drilled a three pointer from the top of the key at the horn.
The shot softened a Little Falls' rally and put DL up by five at halftime.
The Lakers were able to build a 44-36 lead in the second half, behind the scoring of Muckenhirn and Matter, but the Flyers raged back with Weisz and Beseman taking over later in the game, as the latter made a slashing drive to put her team up 49-48 with 3:54 left in regulation.
The game went back and forth, up to Hedstrom's buzzer beater.
"When Little Falls made their comeback around the three-minute mark, the girls were not hanging their heads," Hoganson said. "We had some good senior leadership out there."
Now the Lakers' next challenge will be Fergus Falls, which one of their three losses on the season came at the hands of the DL.
"Our main goal is to play tough defense and take care of the ball," Hedstrom said.
"Beating Fergus Falls this season has given us a lot of confidence (for Saturday), we'll be ready," Matter included.
Section 8-3A quarterfinals: (5) Little Falls at (4) Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, March 1.
Flyers 27 25 - 52
Lakers 32 23 - 55
Scoring (2-3-ftm-fta-pts) -- DL: Courtney Gray 2-0-0-0-4; Taylor Tschider 5-0-3-4-13; Courtney Hedstrom 0-2-0-0-6; Jen Matter 6-1-4-4-19; Kayli Muckenhirn 3-1-0-0-9; Trisa Hutchinson 2-0-0-0-4. TEAM: 18-4-7-8-55.
LF: Alyssa Spillum 1-0-0-0-2; Annie Ploof 0-2-2-2-8; Paige Beseman 5-0-5-6-15; Jennifer Hortness 1-0-0-0-2; Whitney Weisz 9-1-0-1-21; Jessica Hanowski 1-0-1-2-3. TEAM: 17-3-8-11-52.