MINNEAPOLIS -- Justine Dammermann canned a three-pointer at Williams Arena with 27 seconds left and New London-Spicer overtook East Grand Forks 57-53 in the Class AA state quarterfinals on Wednesday.
"She left me open and I thought I hadn't made one yet so ...", said the 5-6 guard, who scored 12 of her team-high 14 points in the game's last 4:31.
The trey -- actually her second -- put the Wildcats in front, 55-53.
Cassie Ziemer had run down the baseline to capture a rebound off a teammate's missed shot and then fed to Dammermann about 21 feet out. She got off the shot before Ashley Tingelstad could reach her.
The Green Wave missed a three-pointer at the other end and Ziemer rebounded. After an NLS timeout, Dammermann was fouled. She made both free throws (8-for-8 for the game) with :08 left and clinched the Wildcats' 30th win and a place in Friday evening's semifinal round at the Target Center.
The Green Wave finish 28-3 with their other two losses to defending Class A champion Ada-Borup (28-1) and to Red Lake County Central by a 91-89 score in the regular-season finale. Those two teams meet in the Class A quarterfinal round today.
Several times, it looked like the big, yet fast, Green Wave would put the young Wildcats away. They twice built up 10-point leads in the first half (20-10 and 25-15), but NLS would play its best basketball at the end of each half.
They made a 10-1 run at the end of the opening half to send the teams to the locker rooms tied 26-26.
A layup by East Grand Forks' 6-2 junior center Kate Warmack put the Green Wave up 49-40 with 5:47 to go in the second half. A pair of foul shots by Michele Hanson ignited a 17-4 Wildcats' run to end the game.
Dammerman's two free throws at 2:49 provided New London-Spicer with its first lead of the second half, 50-49.
But East Grand Forks' outstanding sophomore guard, Chelsey Frydenlund, scored to put the Green Wave in front 51-50 with two minutes left. Taylor Thompsen's mid-court steal and layup put New London-Spicer back up 52-51. But Tingelstad made two free throws at :46 for a 53-52 East Grand Forks lead.
The Wildcats would strike last on Dammermann's long shot.
New London-Spicer coach Mike Dreier acknowledged that Dammermann would get a lot of the credit, but he added that this again was a win where everyone pitched in on a team without a go-to player.
"Ziemer, Hanson, and (Brianna) Jacobson made some big shots, Abbey Knisely had some blocks on their center (Warmack), and Karli Wendlandt kept us in the game in the first half," said the head coach who is at state with a New London-Spicer team for the 14th time. "We didn't make any adjustments. We just kept at it. We turned up the intensity and made some plays."
Dammermann said the East Grand Forks guards Frydenlund and Tingelstad were the best the Wildcats have seen.
"I was really impressed," she said. "We hadn't played a team like that and it was fun."
The Wildcats won the boarding wars 38-23, led by Wendlandt with eight, Ziemer seven and Jacobson six. New London-Spicer made 22-of-27 shots at the free-throw line.
Ziemer finished with 11 points, Hanson 10 and Wendlandt and Thompsen eight each. Knisely collected five blocks
Green Wave head coach Durene Frydenlund said the New London-Spicer full-court press was troublesome.
"We haven't seen that much full-court pressure because our guards are so good," she said. "It spread us out and slowed us down. We didn't move the ball against their zone enough to get the open looks."
East Grand Forks averaged 78 points per game, while New London-Spicer allows just 37. Both figures are the best in Class AA.
New London-Spicer 57, East Grand Forks 53
East Grand Forks (28-3) 26 27 -- 53
New London-Spicer (30-1) 26 31 -- 57
EAST GRAND FORKS - 19-49 FG (6-21 3-pt); 9-14 FT; 23 rebounds; 17 fouls ... Scoring: Chelsey Frydenlund 6-6 0-0 14, Ashley Mertens 3-10 0-0 9, Betsy Smith 2-7 0-0 4, Ashley Tingelstad 4-15 5-8 14, Kate Warmack 4-10 4-6 12, Brooke Greenwood 0-1 0-0 0, Kayleigh Kuznia 0-0 0-0 0, Brooke Vonasek 0-0 0-0 0 ... 3-point shots: Mertens 3-9, Frydenlund 2-2, Tingelstad 1-6, Smith 0-4 ... Rebound leaders: Tingelstad 7, Warmack 6 ... Assist leaders: Smith 3, Tingelstad 3 ... Steal leaders: Tingelstad 6, Frydenlund 3
NEW LONDON-SPICER - 16-44 FG (3-13 3-pt); 22-27 FT; 38 rebounds; 13 fouls ... Scoring: Kelsey Cors 0-2 0-0 0, Taylor Thompsen 3-6 2-2 8, Cassie Ziemer 5-11 0-0 11, Karli Wendlandt 2-8 4-7 8, Brianna Jacobson 2-4 2-4 6, Justine Dammermann 2-8 8-8 14, Michele Hanson 2-3 6-6 10, Lauren Bennewitz 0-0 0-0 0, Abbey Knisely 0-2 0-0 0 ... 3-point shots: Dammermann 2-7, Ziemer 1-3, Cors 0-1, Thompsen 0-2 ... Rebound leaders: Wendlandt 8, Ziemer 7, Jacobson 6 ... Assist leaders: Dammermann 3 ... Steal leaders: Thompsen 4, Dammermann 3, Ziemer 3 ... Blocks: Knisely 5