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Lennox nips injury-riddled MCM in Class A third place game

SIOUX FALLS--During the Class A girls basketball semifinals on Friday, just about everything that could have gone wrong for No. 6 McCook Central/Montrose did in its loss to No. 2 Winner.

McCook Central/Montrose junior Jacy Pulse (1) drives between Lennox defenders Rianna Fillipi (30) and Riley Peters (21) during the Class A third place game on Saturday at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls. (Nick Sabato / Republic)
McCook Central/Montrose junior Jacy Pulse (1) drives between Lennox defenders Rianna Fillipi (30) and Riley Peters (21) during the Class A third place game on Saturday at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

SIOUX FALLS-During the Class A girls basketball semifinals on Friday, just about everything that could have gone wrong for No. 6 McCook Central/Montrose did in its loss to No. 2 Winner.

On Saturday, the Fighting Cougars had a chance to finish out the season on a high note against No. 4 Lennox in the third place game.

Injury problems once again plagued MCM, however, and it had to dig into its bench. The response came in the second half as the Fighting Cougars grabbed a lead late, only to surrender it and see three potential game-tying shots in the final 30 seconds roll off the rim in a 43-41 loss to Lennox (21-4), finishing in fourth place for the second year in a row.

"I had three of my main players on the bench for a lot of the game and we still played with them," MCM head coach Doug Durfee said. "They never quit. My bench-sometimes they don't get a lot of playing time, but they're always ready."

MCM was already missing starting guard McKenna Kranz to injury for the second year in a row, and 2 minutes, 31 seconds into the game, Madison Koepsell-who was limited with foul trouble during the first two games-suffered an injury and did not return.

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To compound the injury woes, the Fighting Cougars starting trio of Abigail Van Ruler, Jacy Pulse and Morgan Erikson combined to go 5 of 23 from the field. In the first half, though, Ciara Rother came off the bench to score six points to cut the Lennox lead to 17-15 and then Ashtyn Wobig came alive in the second half.

Normally the first player off the bench, Wobig was thrust into the starting lineup the past two games due to the Kranz injury, and the freshman responded by scoring 12 of her team-high 16 points in the second half, to go along with four rebounds and four assists.

"The whole team picked me up," Wobig said. "If I had a turnover in the first half, they told me to keep on shooting and driving. My coach told me to keep my head up and keep playing with my heart."

After Emily Bies gave MCM the lead on a 3-pointer, Lennox scored the next four to take the lead with 29.7 seconds left. The Fighting Cougars had two opportunities to tie the game but the Orioles snatched the rebound, only to lose the ball on the ensuing inbound pass with 16.4 seconds on the clock.

Wobig drove to the basket with a floater that appeared to be true, only for the ball to bounce off the backboard and roll off the front of the rim as time expired.

"Each (play) started with a high ball screen and then we had to read and react to how they would defend it," Durfee said. "There was no real second option. I liked every one of those shots. Morgan shot a really good runner, (Van Ruler) just couldn't get it to go and Ashtyn had a good shot. I'll take that any time."

Madysen Vlastuin scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Lennox, while Rianna Fillipi added 11 points and seven assists.

Van Ruler had seven points, 10 rebounds and two blocks for McCook Central/Montrose, which finishes the season 19-6.

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Lennox 43, McCook Central/Montrose 41

McCook Central/Montrose (19-6): Ashtyn Wobig 5-10 5-6 16, Madisen Koepsell 0-0 0-0 0, Abigail Van Ruler 3-7 1-1 7, Jacy Pulse 1-7 1-1 3, Morgan Erikson 1-9 3-4 6, Hope Bartmann 0-0 0-0 0, Ciara Rother 2-4 2-2 6, Emily Bies 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 13-39 12-14 41.

Lennox (21-4): Madysen Vlastuin 6-16 5-6 17, Leslie Fillipi 2-5 0-0 4, Isabel Ihnen 1-6 0-0 3, Riley Peters 3-11 2-2 11, Rianna Fillipi 3-11 2-2 8, Gracie Bowers 0-1 0-0 0, Mara Hinker 0-0 0-0 0, Jenaka DeCou 0-0 0-0 . Totals 15-50 9-10 43.

MCM 2 15 26 41

L 8 17 29 43

3-point field goals: MCM 3-7 (Wobig 1-1, Bies 1-2, Erikson 1-3, Pulse 0-1), L 4-25 (Peters 3-10, Ihnen 1-6, Bowers 0-1, Vlastuin 0-3, R.Fillipi 0-5). Rebounds: MCM 33 (Van Ruler 10), L 28 (Vlastuin 8). Assists: MCM 7 (Wobig 4), L 12 (R.Fillipi 7). Blocked shots: MCM 2 (Van Ruler 2), L 1 (Vlastuin). Steals: MCM 3 (Pulse 3), L 8 (R.Fillipi 4). Turnovers: MCM 19, L 10. Total fouls: MCM 11, L 15.

McCook Central/Montrose freshman Ashtyn Wobig splits Lennox defenders Rianna Fillipi (30) and Leslie Fillipi (45) during the Class A state third place game on Saturday at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls. (Nick Sabato / Republic)
McCook Central/Montrose freshman Ashtyn Wobig splits Lennox defenders Rianna Fillipi (30) and Leslie Fillipi (45) during the Class A state third place game on Saturday at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

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