CHASSELL - Dollar Bay High girls basketball coach Steve Krahling figured the Baraga Vikings would be a tough out in an opening round Class D district tourney game Monday night.
"We had two tough games with them (Vikings) this season," Krahling said after his team squeezed out a 39-36 win at Ed Helakoski Memorial Gym. "I feel fortunate to get out of here with a win tonight."
After trailing by 12 points at the halftime break, Baraga roared back in the second half with strong defense.
Dollar Bay's Meagan Kangas works inside for a shot in Monday's Class D district game in Chassell. The Bays scored a 39-36 win. (Paul Peterson photo)
BHS even took a shortlived 34-33 lead midway through the final quarter on a hoop from Jenna Heikkinen.
That was when Dollar Bay's do-it-all player Julia Daavettila stepped up.
The CCC Player of the Year, dropped in a basket to put her team ahead to stay at 35-34. Then, she had her hand in two big defensive plays to keep the Vikings at bay.
Dollar Bay 13 15 5 6 - 39
Baraga 4 12 11 9 - 36
Dollar Bay -- Meagan Kangas 10, Jamie Sertich 4, Julia Daavettila 16, Carli Daavettila 8, Alyssa Hakala 1. FT 5-13; Rebounds: 26 (J. Daavettila 14); Fouls: 7; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: J. Daavettila 4.
Baraga -- Audrey Barrett 6, Tori Rasanen 5, Jenna Heikkinen 4, Gabby Mayo 14, Melissa Putala 2, Shayla Mayo 2, Tessa Gilbertson 3. FT: 1-2; Rebounds: 26 (G. Mayo 11); Fouls: 16; Foued out: None; 3-point FG: Barrett 2, Gilbertson 1.
The final one came with 6.9 seconds when she picked off a pass intended for a three-point attempt.
"We had the (three-point) shot set up," Baraga coach Daryl Putala said afterward. "But we never got it off because they (Bays) made a big play."
Daavettila got the winners off to a fast start by sinking two triples to begin the game. Coupled by five points from center Meagan Kangas, it was enough to give the Red, White and Blue a 13-4 lead at quarter's end.
Carli Daavettila canned six points in the second frame as DBHS took its aforementioned 28-16 halftime spread.
But Baraga center Gabby Mayo began to get loose in the third period as the Purple and Gold narrowed the deficit to 33-27 at quarter's end.
Krahling said his team was aware of Mayo's work under the hoop.
"She's strong under the basket, makes good moves and is tough to defend," Krahling said. "Meagan (Kangas) did a good job on her, but she still got loose."
The 16-5 Bays, who will face Ontonagon at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in a semifinal match, were paced by Julia Daavettila with 16 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
Kangas managed 10 points and eight rebounds, while Carli Daavettila tossed in eight more.
The Vikings, closing at 6-15, were led by Mayo's 14 points and 11 rebounds.
"I thought we made some positive strides this season," Putala said. "And we're still a pretty young team."
Krahling expects another tough match with Ontonagon.
"We had two battles with them this year," he noted. "It will probably be another one."