By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
The Forgan Lady Bulldogs got help from unexpected sources, and survived foul trouble and a late run by the tournament host, Buffalo Lady Bison to advance to the championship game with a 53-45 win.
Lindsey Trippet hit a shot in the paint that gave her 23 points, and put the Lady Bulldogs up 45-34, with four minutes left in the game. But the Lady Bison made one last surge, getting steals out of their full court press to cut the lead to just five in only a minute-and-a-half. Another three with 20 seconds left cut it to five again, but Forgan made 6 of 8 free throws down in the final minute to hold on for the win.
"Buffalo was on a pretty good streak," Lady Bulldogs coach Brett Trippet said. "They had been playing pretty well. The most impressive thing about tonight's game was just the way our girls executed what we talked about doing. They did a very good job of executing the game plan and following through with the plan. They played really well together tonight."
The Lady Bulldogs helped their cause with a fast start, taking an 11-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Buffalo finally got on the board, but Forgan still led 16-7 at the end of the first.
Both teams struggled to score in the second quarter, and Forgan still led by eight at the break.
Forgan started the second half well, with a 7-2 run that pushed the lead to 13, the largest of the game. Buffalo hit two threes in the final minute of the third to cut the lead to ten at 35-25.
Lindsey Trippet scored 12 of her game-high 24 during an eight minute stretch of the second half.
"She (Lindsey Trippet) had a good game," Brett Trippet said. "She's struggled in the past several games to get her offense going, but she's always played good defense for us. Tonight she really jumped out and played awesome at the offensive end tonight. That was big for us, because they were running a chaser on Kenzi (Taylor), so it was important for her to play well on the offensive end. "
Even with the extra attention Kenzi Taylor still managed 18 points including 11 in the second half. Taylor was also hampered by foul trouble and had to sit out part of the fourth quarter with four fouls.
"You could see the expressions on their faces when Kenzi got her fourth foul and I bring her out of the game," Trippet said. "Buffalo's expressions were 'now is the time, let's make a run' and they made a pretty good run. But we got pretty good contributions from two of the girls who don't play a lot, Macie Bryer and Jackie Rodriquez, came in and played really well."
No.18 Forgan is now 11-6, and faced No.14 Shattuck (10-3) Saturday for the Buffalo Tournament championship.