The stage, the characters, the time and the circumstances were all the same.
Except this Section 8-4A quarterfinal had an alternate ending as the third-seeded Brainerd Warriors eliminated the sixth-seeded Buffalo Bison 49-39 Tuesday at the Brainerd High School.
The Warriors knocked down 17 free throws in the second half, including six in a 10-0 run that turned a one-point deficit into a nine-point lead at 36-27.
With the lead, Brainerd scored one more field goal and 11 free throws to avenge a 71-70 double overtime loss to the Bison in last year's section quarterfinal at Brainerd.
"This felt great because that shouldn't have happened last year," said Warriors senior Megan Bates. "This was payback for sure."
Brainerd Warriors Kayla Huether (13) congratulated Stephanie Neugebauer (11) on the Warriors' 49-39 victory over Buffalo Tuesday in the Section 8-4A quarterfinals in Brainerd as teammates Karlye Barron (second from left) and Megan Bates watched. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood » Purchase reprints of this photo.
After owning the lead for the entire first half, Brainerd trailed right away to start the second with a Hannah Rohl basket off a turnover. The Warriors finished with 16 turnovers and Buffalo managed 11 points off of them.
The two teams then traded the lead six times, before Brainerd's 10-point run.
Warriors 49, Buffalo 39
Key: 17 of the Warriors' 27 second-half points came from the foul line
Overall: Brd 19-7, Buf 12-13
Next: Brainerd vs. Bemidji in Section 8-4A semifinals 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Wadena
In that stretch, Karlye Barron, Emily Thesing and Kayla Huether all dropped two free throws and Tess Rahto scored four of her 10 points off the bench.
"We kind of spread the floor a little bit trying to take some time off the clock," said Warriors head coach Carl Hendrickson. "We knew that they were in foul trouble as far as us being able to get to the line pretty quick, so we were able to take advantage of that and make some free throws. We probably didn't make as many as I would have liked, but down the stretch we made some that kept the mark at eight or nine points."
Bates led the Warriors with 12 points and Emily Thesing scored 10, eight coming from second-half free throws.
Brainerd tried to capitalize on a slight height advantage in the first half as Rahto scored six points in that time. The Warriors were able to score seven second-chance points in the opening half, but turnovers kept the Bison close. Buffalo scored nine first-half points off of Warrior turnovers to claw back to within one at the half.
"Our game plan was to work the high-low with (Stephanie) Neugebauer and Barron or who ever was in there," said Rahto. "The offensive rebounds were very important because it was a close game. Those second chance points really helped us."
The Warriors attempted only 16 field goals in the second half compared to Buffalo's 24. They finished shooting 38 percent from the field and 63 percent from the line.
"We talked about last year, but we didn't dwell on it," said Hendrickson. "We talked about it again at halftime. We didn't want to come off of this gym floor, especially with this group of seniors that we have and have been here for so long, and have the same result as we had last year.
"Basically we told them that it comes down to who wants it the most and I think our girls decided that tonight was a Brainerd Warriors night and not a Buffalo Bison night."
Buffalo 21 18 - 39
Brainerd 22 27 - 49
Brainerd Warriors girls' basketball coach Carl Hendrickson (left) and assistant coach Wade Haapajoki reacted during the Section 8-4A quarterfinal game against Buffalo Tuesday in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Stephanie Neugebauer 5, Kayla Huether 6, Megan Bates 12, Emily Thesing 10, Karlye Barron 4, Nikker Graumann 2, Tess Rahto 10. Team totals: FG 15-39 (38 percent), FT 19-30 (63 percent), 3-point baskets: 0-5.
Rachel Grave 4, Hannah Rohl 6, Miranda Speckel 13, Apryl Schmitz 4, Danielle Dramen 6, Taylor Johnson 2, Emily Adams 4. Team totals: FG 15-47 (32 percent), FT 8-15 (53 percent), 3-point baskets: 1-10 (Schmitz 1).
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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