Plainsmen lose thriller to Kodiaks


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The Crocus Plainsmen nearly survived a super-human performance from the best player on the floor.

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The Crocus Plainsmen nearly survived a super-human performance from the best player on the floor.

River East Kodiaks star Jennifer Kallon found another gear in the final minute, however, putting up five points, two blocks and a steal in 40 brilliant seconds to lift her team to a 67-62 win in the first round of AAAA varsity girls’ basketball provincials at Crocus on Thursday.

The University of Winnipeg Wesmen commit finished with 28 points while limiting Plainsmen standout Rylee Wiebe to 15.

“I’m sad but I’m also really happy,” Wiebe said. “Yeah, it’s our last game and we don’t get to play again but it was a hell of a run. It was anybody’s game.”

The Kodiaks led 19-9 after a first quarter that could have been much closer but Wiebe missed five layups that are usually automatic.

Kallon pulled River East ahead 31-15 before Crocus chipped away on an 8-1 run to trail 32-24 at halftime.

“I was getting frustrated because none of my baskets were going in. Nobody’s was. We kept letting them get baskets and I was very nervous,” Wiebe said.

“After (Coach Adam) Hartman’s little speech … we knew we got this and we gotta work. Everybody just wanted it.”

Wiebe and Kylie Kulman sparked the Plainsmen with a few transition buckets to come as close as 38-36 before Briana Buchan banked a three-pointer in for the Kodiaks.

Crocus narrowed the gap to three before Andrea Villaverde shuffled her feet and drilled a buzzer-beater trey to lead 46-40 after three.

The Kodiaks stayed up by at least two possessions for the next eight minutes.

Wiebe cut it to 53-49 on a three-point play, and to 60-56 on another and-one with 1:40 to go.

Alyanna Gungon hit a layup to cut it to two and Kulman tied it 60-60 with less than a minute to play.

But Kallon drove straight to the rim to answer, then stole the ball and scored again to make it 64-60. She blocked Wiebe the following possession and drew a foul at the other end, knocking down one of two free throws.

Kallon picked Wiebe’s pocket one more time to seal it.

But for 39 minutes, a top-six team had to work a lot harder than most against a host.

Alanah Gushulak posted a team-high 18 points for Crocus

“I’m glad it was close,” Kulman said. “We’ve beat them before and it was a close game but it’s provincials. Crocus going into provincials, you know you’re going to lose the first game.

“(Nearly beating Kallon) makes me feel like I can compete with those people that are committed to colleges and stuff. It’s a good feeling.”

The Kodiaks play the No. 3-seed Garden City Fighting Gophers in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 5 p.m.

In the earlier games, the Kelvin Clippers beat the Oak Park Raiders 67-63 to earn a quarterfinal against the top-ranked Dakota Lancers on Saturday at 1 p.m., and the Sisler Spartans beat the Miles Macdonell Buckeyes 68-56. Sisler plays No. 4 Westwood on Saturday at 3 o’clock.

The evening game between Daniel McIntyre and Fort Richmond for a 7 o’clock quarterfinal against the No. 2 Vincent Massey Trojans was still in progress at press time.


» Twitter: @thomasmfriesen

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