KEARNEY — Dakota Blue
held on for a 52-50 win over the Sioux Falls Riders in the finals of the
Miss Basketball Showcase on Sunday night.
"It was a tough game
and we expected nothing less," Dakota Blue coach Laurie Melum said.
"The girls played with a lot of heart, and we were lucky to come out
The Blue's Sarita DeBoer
of Huron, and the Riders' Megan Mahoney of Black Hawk, were named the
"They have a great
team and you can't double Mahoney too much," Melum said. "They
are tough to defend, but we hit shots when we needed to."
DeBoer led Dakota Blue
with 22 points, while Mahoney paced the Riders with 15 points, including a
Dakota Blue took a 25-24
halftime lead, with the 6-foot, 2-inch DeBoer doing most of the offensive
damage from the low post.
The Blue's Andrea
Seefeldt also got into the act by scoring all seven of her points in the
Meanwhile, Mahoney and
Renae Luecke kept the Riders close by combing for 13 first-half points.
As the second half got
under way the Riders applied a half-court press that had Dakota Blue
looking for answers.
Spurred on by their
increased defensive intensity, the Riders slipped into a 30-29 lead with
11:32 remaining in regulation.
From that point on, the
teams traded blows and neither side gained more than a 5-point advantage.
As the clock wound down under two minutes, Dakota Blue clung to a 52-47
However, with only 24
seconds remaining, Mahoney nailed a deep 3-point shot with a defender in
her face to cut the lead to three.
After a pair of missed
free-throws by Dakota Blue, the Riders quickly fired the ball to
half-court. But, the Riders' 3-point attempt sailed to the right of the
rim, and Dakota Blue escaped with the National Championship.
Dakota Blue will play two
more tournaments this summer, the next being in Wisconsin.
"This is our
favorite tournament we play in," Melum said. "We hate that this
our first tournament of the summer, because we tend to poke around.
"But this is an
exciting way to start our tour, and the girls should be confident the rest
of the way."