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E-TC sink Baraga with buzzer-beater, 45-43

The Ewen-Trout Creek High School girls basketball team celebrates a Division 4 Region 25 semifinal win against Baraga on Monday, March 29, 2021, in Painesdale, Mich. (David Archambeau/For the Gazette)

PAINESDALE — It came down to one play.

With the score tied at 43, the Ewen-Trout Creek Panthers had a plan to put up one final shot in Monday night’s MSHHA Division 4 Region 25 regional semifinal game against the Baraga Vikings.

Elise Besonen did what she was assigned to do. She got the ball and swished a shot from the corner as the buzzer sounded for the dramatic 45-43 win.

“We wanted to get the ball into Elise’s hands with a screen from Abbie (LeGault) so those two could create something, and it worked out,” said E-TC head coach Jacky Besonen.

E-TC plays Carney-Nadeau on Wednesday in Gladstone for the regional title and a berth in the state quarterfinals.

It looked like it was all Baraga as the clock ticked down. The Vikings led 38-34 with four minutes remaining.

E-TC’s Makenna Hendrickson hit a shot to tie it at 38-all. It was tied again at 40 before the two teams pulled up to a 43-43 duel with less than a minute left.

The Panthers then called time out and designed their buzzer-beating play.

It was a heartbreaking loss for Baraga’s head coach Tom Goodreau and his girls. The Vikings led for most of the night.

“I told the team that they had nothing to be ashamed over. Hang your head high,” Goodreau said. “We came out here and gave it our best.”

Baraga’s best was a strong defense and a patient offense. While shots fell for the Vikings in the first, the Panthers struggled to find the net. Baraga led 11-6 after one period.

At the 5:02 mark in the second, a shot off the glass by Baraga’s Allison Durant put the Viking ahead by six — their largest lead of the night. They would move that lead to eight by half time with a 25-17 tilt.

“The first (half) was our best,” Goodreau said. “We executed our game plan particularly in our defensive work. The girls did exactly what we wanted them to do.”

The Panthers cut the lead to four at 28-24 halfway through the third.

“I told the team at half time that we needed to take this next period one possession at a time,” Besonen said. “If we could get a couple of buckets early on, the momentum would change, and it did.”

Ewen took its first lead of the game at the 3:01 mark in the third at 29-28. But it didn’t last long as the Viking chipped a shot of the glass, and a free throw made it 32-31 with just one period to go.

“Our girls had a lot of grit tonight,” Besonen said. “They came back and weren’t shaken. We came back and played tough.”

E-TC 6 11 14 14 — 45

BHS 11 14 7 11 — 43

EWEN-TROUT CREEK (45): LeGault 7, Schutz 2, Borseth 11, Besonen 25. 3-point FG: Besonen. FT: 18-20. F: 10.

BARAGA (43): Hendrickson 4, Kahkonen 15, Osterman 1, Lindemann 3, Durant 20. 3-point FG: Kahkonen. FT: 10-16. F: 18.

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