ESCANABA, MI - The Bay College Norse (12-5) would win in thrilling fashion, beating the Silver Lake College Lakers (4-9) by a final score of 66-64 on Saturday afternoon.
The Lakers looked to be in control early. After Bay's Paige Welch (SO, Bark River, MI) would hit a three-pointer on the opening possession, Silver Lake would go on a 10-2 run to claim the lead. The Lakers would hit five of nine attempts from behind the three-point arc in the opening quarter, and would lead 22-16 heading into the second period.
While the Lakers' pace would slow from behind the arc, they would continue shooting the ball well. Silver Lake would go seven of 14 from the floor, but hitting on just one of seven from three would allow the Norse to close the gap. With just under four minutes remaining in the half, Bay would claim the lead for the first time since the opening possession, only to see Silver Lake go on a run to end the half. An 11-2 run would give the Lakers a 40-32 lead at intermission.
Silver Lake would continue to hold the lead early in the second half, claiming their biggest lead of the game at ten points shortly into the third quarter. The Lakers would fall off their pace in the third quarter, hitting just two of eight shots. They would rely on free throws to keep them in control, converting six of eight attempts from the charity stripe. The Norse would be able to cut the deficit throughout, and with just over 30 seconds remaining a Juliann Wickman (FR, Felch, MI) layup would tie the game at 48. Hailee Kotche (SR, Manitowoc, WI) would have an answer, drilling a three-pointer before the buzzer to give Silver Lake the lead going into the fourth.
The Lakers would take the early advantage in the final quarter. After the two teams would trade baskets, Silver Lake would get a stop that would lead to them grabbing a six-point lead with seven minutes remaining in the game. The Norse would step up defensively, forcing turnovers on four consecutive possessions, and making it a one possession game. The Norse would not be able to reclaim the lead however, and Silver Lake would have a three-point lead with under a minute remaining, setting up the dramatic finish.
With 41 seconds remaining, the Norse would call a timeout and set up an opportunity to tie the game. The inbounds pass would go to Jordan Kraemer (SO, Norway, MI) who would hand the ball to Jordan Belleville (SO, St. Ignace, MI) dribbling the ball to the right wing. Belleville would then spin and find a wide open Haley Trudell (FR, Rock, MI) on the left wing, who would tie the game, knocking down the big three-point shot with 35 seconds remaining. The Lakers would look for an immediate response, but with four seconds remaining Kraemer would knock the ball out of the hands of an offensive Silver Lake player, and call an immediate timeout, advancing the ball up court and giving the Norse a chance to take the lead in regulation. This time the inbounds pass would once again go to Kraemer, who would fake the handoff to Belleville, spin, and attack the basket from the left side. She would get fouled at the rim, sending her to the line with 0.3 seconds remaining. Kraemer would hit both free throws. The last ditch effort for Silver Lake would be tipped away on the inbounds pass, and the Norse would celebrate a victory over a four-year school.
"It was great to see our players respond and never give up after being down by ten late," said Head Coach Rob Robinson. "These kids show a lot of character every time they take the floor and that makes them fun to watch."
Kraemer would lead the Norse in scoring with 16 points and would end up with five steals. Wickman would score 13 points. The Norse would force 22 Laker turnovers.
Silver Lake's Paige Boden (SO, Fowlerville, MI) would lead all scorers with 17 points. Kotche would put together an impressive stat line, finishing with 13 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, five steals, and five blocked shots.
The Norse will take their eight-game win streak on the road to Chicago where they will face Kennedy-King College on Tuesday. That game is scheduled for a 6 PM tip.