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Girls Basketball: Hancock avenges last year's 6A-West defeat

Illisa Koehl, left, of Hancock aims to direct a pass to teammate Kendra Schmidgall, not pictured, while being pressured by the Parkers Prairie defense late in the second half Tuesday in the Section 6A-West championship game on the University of Minnesota-Morris campus. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)

MORRIS -- The last two years Hancock exited the Section 6A-West girls basketball tournament at the hands of Parkers Prairie.

Last year was the more painful, losing on a Panther free throw in the final moments at the sub-section final.

"We called this 'Unfinished Business,' '' said Owls' junior center Kendra Schmidgall.

The business plan worked as the Owls squeaked out a 40-37 win over the Panthers at the University of Minnesota-Morris on Tuesday night.

Hancock senior guard Ilissa Koehl made two big plays in the last 2:10 to spark an eight-point run that provided a 40-34 lead with 35 seconds left. Koehl drove from the top of the key and muscled up a layup for a 35-32 lead, and a minute later, drove the baseline and dished to Schmidgall for a wide open layup and 37-34 lead with 1:00 left.

Aria Walstad sank two free throws for a 40-34 lead, but a three-point play by the Panthers' Tamara Schmidt cut the Owls' advantage to a basket again, 40-37 with 27 seconds left.

When the Owls failed to successfully inbound the Panthers got the ball back. Two three-point attempts failed and with 6.6 seconds left, the Panthers (24-4) inbounded under the Hancock basket. They got a clean shot from the corner, but it bounced off the rim, and in a scramble, Walstad pulled away the rebound as she fell to the court and the buzzer sounded.

Hancock (25-2) goes on to play Ada-Borup (25-2) at 7 p.m. Friday at Concordia College in Moorhead.

Koehl was alone in double figures with 11 points. Schmidgall and Courtney Greiner ended up with nine each. Madison Dorn had 14 points for the Panthers.

Hancock 40, Parkers Prairie 37

Parkers Prairie (24-4) 17 20 -- 37

Hancock (25-2) 16 24 -- 40

PARKERS PRAIRIE - 13 FG (5 3-pt); 6-7 FT; rebounds not available; 13 fouls ... Scoring: Madison Dorn 14, Micaela Noga 7, Tamara Schmidt 7, Kaylee Dorn 4, Ally Taylor 5 ... 3-point shots: M. Dorn 3, Noga 1, Taylor 1 ... Rebound, assist and steal leaders not available

HANCOCK - 13 FG (3 3-pt); 11-19 FT; 19 rebounds; 13 fouls ... Scoring: Shae Brown 6, Aria Walstad 5, Kendra Schmidgall 9, Courtney Greiner 9, Illissa Koehl 11 ... 3-point shots: not available ... Rebound leaders: Schmidgall 7, Greiner 5 ... Assist leaders: Walstad 3 ... Steal leaders: Walstad 2

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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