John Glenn defeats Frankenmuth in overtime, 49-46
Frankenmuth – Those expecting a similar game to that played on Dec. 7 between No. 3-ranked Bay City John Glenn and unranked Frankenmuth were greatly mistaken.
The teams met in a Class B regional final at Frankenmuth on Tuesday whereas that game played in early December was at John Glenn and the Bobcats won, 41-23.
John Glenn coach Cory Snider was aware of that, as so was Frankenmuth coach Tom Keller.
"We played our worst game," Snider said. "We couldn’t shoot. We knew we’d play better."
This time the game would come down to the wire and it would come down to which team made the big shot, and which one didn’t.
Jenal Laporte, one of John Glenn’s top perimeter shooters, hadn’t made a basket since the second quarter. The game was in overtime tied at 43-43 and Laporte had just two points. Still the senior, like all good shooters, is confident the next one will go through the hoop.
Laporte’s 3-pointer with 3:11 left gave John Glenn a 46-43 lead and John Glenn held on by a thread to defeat Frankenmuth 49-46.
Cassidy Boensch, John Glenn’s 6-2 center who signed with Grand Valley State, made three throws in the last 31 seconds to increase the lead to 49-43 and that lead appeared safe as the Lady Eagles had possession with 9.3 seconds left.
But there was time. Kelsie Kujat made a 3-pointer, her first since the first quarter, to slice the lead in half with 1.4 seconds left. Keller called a time out to set up his defense.
An errant John Glenn pass, over the Frankenmuth defense, nearly went out of bounds with no time running but Kalle Martinez of John Glenn alertly touch the ball before it did go out and Frankenmuth had the length of the court to go in an attempt to tie, instead of having the ball underneath John Glenn’s basket.
Again, there was time. Brayene Brenner, unguarded, threw a 60-foot pass to Kujat who turned and threw up a 30-footer that hit the backboard then the rim before bouncing out ending the game.
As crazy as this game was surely many in the crowd of approximately 1,500 thought it would go in and force a second overtime.
Frankenmuth (21-3) led 17-14 at the end of the first quarter and Benner’s free throw gave the Lady Eagles a 25-17 lead with 4:12 left in the half.
John Glenn ended the half on a 10-0 run capped by Madeline Payne’s basket with 1:05 left.
Frankenmuth opened the second half with a 12-0 run and when Benner banked in a shot from the free throw line to five the Lady Eagles a 37-27 lead Snider knew it was time for a time out.
“They never come easy,” Snider said. “I’m sweating like crazy. We came out with a better purpose defensively in that fourth. We had Cassidy come up and guard the high post. We had trouble defending both of their big players (6-2 Benner and 6-1 Keri Frahm).”
John Glenn came out determined in the fourth and tied the game at 39-39 on Boensch’s basket with 4:58 left.
Martinez, who was cold from the outside to that point, made her third 3-pointer of the quarter to give John Glenn a 42-41 lead with 3:56 left.
A Boensch free throw made it a two-point game with 2:58 left but the Bobcats couldn’t put the game away as they missed two front ends of a one-and-one situation to leave the door open.
With 7.9 seconds left Keller called time out to set up a potential tying basket.
“We ran that sideline play against Goodrich,” Keller said. “We said the girl on the baseline won’t be open. I said Keri (Frahm) would be open. They had (Kennedy Clyde, a 5-7 junior) on her the whole second half so I knew we had the size advantage. Lindsey (Mertz) threw a great pass and Keri made a great catch.”
Mertz’s lob pass enabled Frahm to avoid the defense and score with six seconds left to tie the game at 43-43 and it went to overtime.
Laporte had just five points but her 3-pointer proved crucial.
“I wasn’t really on,” she said. “Shooters keep shooting. If I had the open shot I was going to take it.”
Boensch had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Martinez scored 19 points.
For Frankenmuth Kujat had 12 points, Benner had 11 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, and Frahm had 10 points.
John Glenn (23-1) will play Freeland (21-3) for the region title on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Last week the Bobcats won their first district title since 1991. The school has never won a regional title in girls basketball.