Vikings’ ship still afloat: Baraga wins regional

Burt Angeli/Daily News (Iron Mountain) Baraga head coach Tom Goudreau and team members, along with some of their closest friends, pose for a team picture Wednesday after beating Stephenson 45-40 for the Division 4 Region 25 championship in Kingsford.

KINGSFORD — The record will forever show Reide Osterman scored two points in Wednesday’s Division 4 girls’ regional basketball final at Kingsford High School.

Those could not have come at a better time for the freshman guard as she drained a pair of free throws in the final 11.1 seconds, helping the second-ranked Baraga Vikings hang on for a 45-40 triumph over the Stephenson Eagles.

This marked the first regional title since 1992 for Baraga (21-3), which faces top-ranked St. Ignace (25-0) in a state quarterfinal game Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Escanaba. Stephenson finished 12-10.

Osterman was fouled twice at crunch time. With Baraga holding a 43-40 lead, she made it a two-possession game with the first free throw and missed the second.

Sophomore Jaylyne Lindemann, however, grabbed the rebound and the Eagles again put Osterman at the line with 8.1 seconds remaining.

Osterman again hit the first shot and missed the second. The Eagles then gained possession, but were unable to convert.

“I told myself to just breathe and make them,” she said. “It was a relief to see Jaylyne get the rebound when I missed the first time. Once I hit the last one, we felt that would be enough. St. Ignace has a very good team. We’ll definitely have to play our best game to beat them.”

Baraga led 41-36 after Lindemann scored on a layup with 3:10 left to play.

The Eagles pulled within 41-38 on a fast break layup by junior Emily Johnson and 41-40 on an eight-foot shot from the right baseline at 1:55.

Baraga, as it did all night, came up with an answer when needed. With 43.8 seconds left to play, sophomore Rylie Koskinen sneaked through the backdoor for a layup and a 43-40 cushion, setting the stage for a nail-biting finish.

“We really needed to work on our defense more in the second half,” said Koskinen. “They had a lot of girls shoot well from outside and we had to get out on them. Our defense is what kept us out there. I felt our quickness is what won the game.”

Unlike Monday night when the Vikings played an uptempo game in a 57-42 triumph over Munising, they elected to go to more of a half-court game this time.

“When we tried to push the ball, Stephenson did a great job getting back on us,” said Vikings’ coach Tom Goodreau. “It was a great defensive battle. When we were getting out on their shooters, our quickness created some problems for them. In the second half, our goal was to give up no 3-pointers and we only allowed one. Late in the game, we told the girls we had to score. We wanted to take advantage of the opportunity when it was there.”

Koskinen scored 17 points and Lindemann added 15 for the Vikings, who committed eight turnovers.

Bay College recruit Autumn Rasner concluded a superb high school career with 16 points and junior Emily Johnson hit 10 for the Eagles, who had 15 miscues.

Now, it’s on to the quarterfinals for the Vikings.

“At one point we asked the girls ‘if you get punched in the mouth, are you going stand around and take it or are you going to push back? Fortunately, we pushed back,” said Goodreau. “You always worry with a young team, although this team is mature for its age. There’s no pressure on us. We’re not supposed to be here. We’ll just play our game and whatever happens, happens.”

Stephenson 12 9 9 10 — 40

Baraga 13 11 10 11 — 45

STE: Kuehnau 3, Rasner 16, E. Johnson 10, M. Johnson 9, Kuntze 2; FT: 7-15. Fouls: 11; 3-point field goals: Rasner 2, E. Johnson 2, Kuehnau 1

BAR: Jahfetson 8, Kamarainen 3, Koskinen 17, Osterman 2, Lindemann 15; FT: 3-8; Fouls: 16; 3-point field goals: Koskinen 3, Lindemann 3, Jahfetson 1, Kamarainen 1