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Hanson outlasts Ethan girls in 2OT thriller for district title

Expectations of a great game turned out to be true as the Hanson Beavers defeated the Ethan Rustlers 63-58 in double overtime Saturday to take the District 8B title Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

It was a contest that featured comebacks, last-second shots and at the end, a war of attrition.

“I’m so proud of these girls,” an emotional Hanson coach Jim Bridge said. “They kept digging and kept fighting.

The Rustlers jumped to a 4-0 lead but the Beavers closed out the quarter with a 14-1 run and a 14-5 first quarter lead.

“We didn’t get off to a very good start,” said Ethan coach Scott Giblin. “I don’t know if we were nervous or if they just got after us.”

The second quarter proved to be the opposite as Hanson only managed four free throws and a late field goal. Ethan took advantage and scored 14 points to trail 20-19 at intermission.

The Rustlers took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter and increased the lead to 39-35 with 5:23 remaining. A key play occurred with 2:26 left in the game as Ethan’s standout forward Darbi Gustafson fouled out. She finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.

“It was tough to lose Darbi there,” Giblin said. “For kids to take it into two overtimes says a lot about our kids.”

Ethan held a 46-44 lead with 22 seconds left on the strength of a free throw from Rachel Hawkins. But Katlyn Schroeder hit a layup with 4 seconds left send the contest in to its first overtime.

Kynedi Cheeseman, who finished with a game-high 31 points and 17 rebounds for the Beavers, knew she needed to take control of the game.

“I felt I needed to step it up and lead our team as our two top guards fouled out,” Cheeseman said. The Beavers led 51-47 with just over two minutes left in the overtime, but the Rustlers fought back and took a 52-51 lead with 28 seconds remaining on a basket from Janae Gustafson.

A Cheeseman three-point play with 8 seconds left seemed to put the game away as the Beavers led 54-52.

But a shot at the buzzer by Ellie Hohn sent the game into a second overtime.

Free throws proved to be the deciding factor as Hanson made 5 of 6 free throws while Ethan 2 of 6 free throws. The Beavers also added a shot from Cheeseman.

“Free throws were big and we said that it would come down to that,” said Bridge. “It came down to who made the least amount of mistakes and who made the free throws, and we made more free throws which was the big difference.”

Hanson (20-2) was 19-of-49 for 39 percent from the field and 24-of-29 for 83 percent from the line. The Beavers held a 32-22 rebounding advantage over the Rustlers and they turned the ball over 15 times.

Ethan ends its season at 17-5 and was led by Hohn with 20 points and five assists and Hawkins with 10 points and five assists.

The Rustlers were 18-of-36 for 50 percent from the floor, 20-of-35 for 57 percent from the free-throw line and committed 10 turnovers.

Hanson advances to the Region 4B championship where it matches up against Chester Area for a spot in the Class B state tournament. The region game begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

E 5 19 33 46 54 58

H 14 20 31 46 54 63