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Lady Dragons Mount Comeback, Fall in OT Thriller to Esko

The Pine City girls basketball team hosted Esko on Thursday night.

Pine City and Esko got off to a quick start trading leads and battling hard, but that soon fizzled out as the defenses came to life. This would hold the scoring a bit lower than expected as the half drew towards its end. But again credit must be given to both defenses as they provided a show, with turnovers blocks and steals. Late in the half the Esko offense found a groove and started to pull away, while the Dragons offense just couldn't find the spark they needed. Esko went into half leading 31-20.

The 2nd half got off to a great start... for Esko. The Dragon offense struggled to move past the full court pressure and once they did there weren't any shots falling for them. Esko was able to extend their lead to 22 points. But that's when the spark happened for Pine City, with 11 minutes left in the half the comeback was on! Trailing 52-30 the Dragons offense leaned on its senior leadership on the court and found a rhythm. The defense was able to create turnovers in many ways but importantly, they were scoring off of these turnovers and momentum had shifted in their favor. It seemed nothing would bounce in for Esko, meanwhile any and everything was bouncing the Dragons way. As the half rolled into its final stages Esko had found a way to get a few shots to fall and maintain their lead with under 30 seconds to go. The scoring continued by both teams but Esko held a two point lead. With 5 seconds to go Esko had missed their shot to end the game and Karly Jusczak came up with the rebound and was sent to the free throw line, she was clutch and hit both to the the game into overtime tied at 66. If you're keeping track the Dragons outscored Esko after trailing by 22 points, 36-14 to end regulation, and certainly felt good about the extra time. Unfortunately, Esko was able to put the game away as Pine City fell 76-73.

With the loss the Dragons fell to 5-3 on the season but certainly look at this game as a building block for the rest of the season. Next up for them they'll be playing in the Perham holiday tournament 12/27-12/28.


Pine City

Karly Jusczak 33

Piper Mettling 16

Summer Thieman 12

Brooke Boland 8

Emma Belsheim 4

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