ROLLA — For most of the 32 minutes, Borgia dominated play in Wednesday’s MSHSAA Class 4 sectional girls basketball game.
But the Marshfield Lady Jays (24-5) grabbed a lead with 36.5 seconds to play and held on to defeat the Lady Knights (25-3), 53-50.
“It was a tough ending to the season,” Borgia Head Coach Stacia Parsell said. “We had the game under control for quite a long time. The execution in the last few minutes was not there and we put them on the free-throw line.”
Borgia led most of the game and was up 10-9 after one quarter, 30-20 at the half and 42-40 after three quarters.
Borgia watched an 11-point lead melt away in the second half as Marshfield rained seven three-point baskets after the intermission.
The key for Marshfield was senior Lauren Aldridge. The Kansas University recruit hit three three-point baskets, all in the third quarter, to spark Marshfield’s comeback. She led all scorers in the game with 26 points.
“Emily Grahl bothered her in the first half, but Aldridge stepped up after that,” Parsell said.
And Aldridge was at the line for a one-and-one with 36.5 seconds to play. Her two shots gave the Lady Jays their first advantage since early in the game.
Oddly, the officials chose to put Aldridge, the ballhandler, on the line despite the fact the collision was between a Borgia player and a player setting a pick.
This time, Marshfield didn’t give up the lead. Borgia managed one point after that, a free throw from senior standout Janie Arand.
It was only fitting that Arand scored Borgia’s final point. A four-year varsity player, Arand will continue her basketball career in the same gym next season with Missouri S&T.
Borgia led 38-27 midway through the third quarter when Marshfield nibbled its way back into the game. Between Aldridge and senior Makenna Smith, Marshfield hit the shots it missed in the first half and cut Borgia’s lead down to two points after three quarters.
Early in the fourth quarter, Borgia did what it needed to do to hold the lead. Junior Molly Arand hit a three-point shot to open the fourth quarter and Borgia seemed to have things in hand.
Even when Marshfield hit a three, the Lady Knights answered in some form.
But the Lady Knights went dry through much of the fourth quarter and didn’t connect on free throws (5-11 for the game). In the end, that proved to be Borgia’s undoing.
Parsell relied on the same six players she’s used for much of the season.
“Throughout the season, we’ve been able to wear other teams down this way,” Parsell said. “This had given us success for 25 games this season. The depth finally caught up with us. They were able to handle our pressure in the second half.”
In the first half, the difference was a 9-1 run by Borgia in the final 2:55.
Borgia continued that in the second half and seemed to be in control throughout much of the third quarter, even after sophomore post player Megan Jensen took a seat with three fouls.
“We were able to maintain the lead without Megan,” Parsell said. “We had to move Janie inside. Somewhere, we lost focus and momentum.”
At the start of the game, Janie Arand hit the first basket.
Jensen then hit the next basket, but Borgia’s lead evaporated when Aldridge nailed the next two shots, including a three-point basket to give Marshfield its first lead of the game.
Borgia bounced back with a six-point run. Sophomore Kaylee Heggemann, Janie Arand, and junior Cassandra Halsted hit shots.
Marshfield responded, cutting it to 10-9 by the end of the first quarter. Junior Samantha French hit a shot while Marshfield patiently looked for a chance. Senior Alison VanDiggelen then stole the ball and scored just before the buzzer.
Borgia turned to Molly Arand in the second quarter and she ignited a three-point run.
Borgia led throughout the second quarter. Molly Arand nailed two three-point baskets and a pair of two-point shots.
With the game still close, Borgia shifted into overdrive in the final 2:55 of the half. The Lady Knights got a basket from Janie Arand.
After an Aldridge free throw with 2:31 left in the second quarter, Borgia did not surrender another point in the half.
Grahl made the difference, hitting two baskets down the stretch, including a three-point play with 4.8 seconds to play, getting Aldridge to foul after Grahl stole the ball on the other end of the court.
Borgia opened the third quarter with six of the first eight points of the third quarter, but things quickly turned.
Jensen picked up her third foul and Parsell had to switch defenses. Marshfield capitalized by hitting three-point shots, the same shots which bounced away in the first half.
Borgia’s seniors, Janie Arand and Grahl, combined for 25 of the team’s 50 points.
Janie Arand also had seven rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Grahl also had three assists, three rebounds and two steals.
“We lose the heart and soul of this team,” Parsell said. “These two kids have played for four years and have been a part of a lot of special moments. Janie played a major part on our state team her freshman year (Borgia finished third in the 2011 season). Emily was still figuring out her role, but she became a very solid player for us.”
Molly Arand led the underclassmen with 13 points. She also had two assists.
“Molly had a very good game for us,” Parsell said.
Jensen scored seven points with eight rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and a steal.
“Megan is one of our building blocks, along with Kaylee, Molly and Cassandra, for next year’s team,” said Parsell.
Heggemann had three points, two assists and one steal.
And Halsted scored two points with one rebound.
After Aldridge, Smith was next in scoring with nine points.
Sophomore Peyton Greenlee and VanDiggelen scored eight points apiece.
French, who missed huge chunks of the game due to foul trouble, scored the other two points.