Tricounty News

Lady Cubs win comeback thriller

With less than one minute to play and the clock ticking, Kimball trailed by seven points, 36-43, while the Holdingford Huskers had possession of the ball, only needing to run out the clock to complete a victory over the Cubs. But the Kimball girls' basketball team gained possession following a Holdingford shot, took a timeout, and junior Mandy Wittenberg scored shortly thereafter and was fouled with 42 seconds to play. Wittenberg converted the free throw, and Kimball scored again within 20 seconds to cut the lead to two with 22 seconds left. Next, Wittenberg stole the Husker entry pass near half court, passed the ball ahead to junior Brooke Merten, and with 14 seconds remaining, Merten tied the game 43-43 with a pull-up jump shot after attacking the rim in transition. Neither team scored in the final 14 seconds which sent the game into overtime where Kimball jumped out to an early lead. Wittenberg would again come up big in overtime as she scored on an offensive rebound. This gave Kimball the early advantage. After the Huskers tied the score, junior Rachel Arnold drove and dished to senior Megan Garding who converted the layup to put Kimball back in front by two. Holdingford would get a free throw to make the score 47-46 and this time junior Erin Dingmann would make a nifty pass to Wittenberg as she connected to give the Cubs a three-point lead 49-46. Holdingford refused to fold however, as they hit a three-pointer to tie the score at 49-49 with 1:27 to play, but Merten would answer with a driving jumper in the lane to put Kimball up for good, with just over a minute to play. Garding and Merten would combine for three more freethrows in the final 30 seconds to hold off the Huskers by a final score of 54-51 to complete a thrilling victory for the Lady Cubs. The entire game was well played by Kimball as they committed only 14 team turnovers on the night compared to Holdingford's 24.

Kimball held the advantage in this statistical category, along with nearly every other one, except for their shooting percentage. Kimball would shoot 20 for 53 on two-point field goals and 8 for 24 from the free throw line, while the Huskers converted 20 of their 26 free throws. Despite these struggles, Kimball proved how to win a game when all things aren't always going your way. Garding led the way for Kimball, breaking out for 19 points, 11 rebounds, one blocked shot, hitting two clutch free-throws late in overtime. Wittenberg finished with 11 points making several big-time plays down the stretch. Merten stepped up with some huge baskets in crunch time as well, scoring 10 points and leading the team with four steals defensively. Dingmann added five points and two assists, senior Natalie Stein scored four points with four rebounds and 2 steals, -Senior Shannon Donnay added 3 points, Arnold had one point with 5 assists and 2 steals while Junior Liz Kastanek had 1 point and 4 rebounds. In summary, the Cubs proved that with a lot of heart, hustle, and the determination to never give up, anything is possible, as this game will be remembered for a long time by all those who were fortunate enough to take part in it. Kimball's next game will be after the holiday break hosting Milaca Tuesday, Jan. 4, and then at Maple Lake Friday, Jan. 7. Go Big Blue!