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Girls Basketball: Lake City's season ends against Pine Island

Lake City's Bailey Cronin sets up the offense Tuesday against Pine Island at the Mayo Civic Arena in Rochester. The Tigers fell 50-33 in the Section 1AA-West Subsection semifinals. Photo by Chris Harrell1 / 3
Lake City sophomore Breanna Gates shoots a pull-up jump shot Tuesday in the Tigers' 50-33 loss to Pine Island. Photo by Chris Harrell2 / 3
Lake City ninth-grader Madi Green looks for an open teammate in Tuesday's game at the Mayo Civic Arena in Rochester. Green had 12 points in the game. Photo by Chris Harrell3 / 3

Lake City and Pine Island met Feb. 15 to conclude the regular season with Cede Finstuen knocking down the winning free-throw with one second remaining for a 36-35 win.

The Tigers were looking to get revenge Tuesday in the Section 1AA-West Subsection semifinal at the Mayo Civic Arena. The Panthers' defense put a stop to that from the beginning.

Pine Island held Lake City to 12 points in the first half and six points in the final 10 minutes, 28 seconds of the second half, moving to the sub-section finals with a 50-33 victory.

"They're a good team," Lake City head coach Candace Olstad said. "It's tough. We had a couple turnovers, some missed shots. It's the little things."

Alison Newon led all scorers with 16 points for the second-seeded Panthers (24-5). Noelle Langworthy and Mattie Shelton each had nine points while Cede Finstuen added eight points in the win.

The third-seeded Tigers (16-10) were led by Taylor Koller, who had 13 points. Madi Green scored 12 points, Breanna Gates contributed six points and Ashley Gates had two points in the loss.

Lake City's offense stalled most of the first half and Mattie Shelton hit a 3-pointer just before halftime to give Pine Island a 24-12 lead into the break.

Koller and Green were the only Tigers to score in the first half, tallying six points apiece.

"It was hard to get a shot off in the first half," Olstad said. "They're big and they're tall and they sag off a little bit and pack it in (the lane)."

Coming out of the break, Lake City changed to a man-to-man defense and tried to create full-court pressure. It worked initially as the Tigers cut the deficit to 30-21 on a free throw by Koller with 12:49 remaining. Lake City continued to chip away at the Panthers' lead, getting as close as 33-27 on a basket by Green, but Pine Island pulled away in the final eight minutes of the game.

"When you're playing only six girls, it's hard to play that for a whole half," Olstad said.

Tuesday's game was the first time Lake City played in the sub-section semifinals in the last six years. The Tigers will graduate five seniors but Olstad is optimistic for the future and the experience gained playing on a bigger stage.

"They fight to the end no matter the situation," Olstad said. "I'm proud of how much they accomplished. To get here again, they're going to have to do a lot of work."

Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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