In an epic back-and-forth affair the number one seeded Roseau Rams held off upset-minded Redwood Valley 75-74 in a Class AA State quarterfinal thriller held March 13 at Williams Arena.
In a game that will go down in Redwood Valley state tournament lore, the cinderella Cardinals (19-9) not only proved they belonged at state but battled punch for punch with the veteran, heavily favored Rams (29-2) until the final buzzer.
After leading by as many as 11 in the second half and trailing by as much as nine, it came down to the final frantic five seconds, as a Roseau turnover gave the Cardinals one last chance at victory trailing 75-74.
Aubree Hicks would inbound the ball to Sydney Sommers who, heavily guarded by Roseau standout Katie Borowicz, found teammate Amy Martius open for a three-pointer that fell just off the front of the rim as time expired.
It was a tough loss but an effort that should only make a young Cardinal team tougher moving forward.
Heading into the contest, the Cardinals knew they were dealing with the Rams' two-woman show of sisters Kacie and Katie Borowicz. Kacie entered as a career 3,000 point scorer on her way to UND next season, and Katie was a talented 21 ppg scorer who was the floor general for the Rams. The two would not disappoint, with Katie finishing with 37 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists and Kacie adding 33 points, 10 rebounds, six steals and three assists. The duo combined for an astounding 70 of the Rams 75 points and were a perfect 14-for-14 from the charity stripe.
Despite the effort of the Borowicz sisters, the Cardinals had an answer right out of the gates taking a 10-8 lead, as Haley Garman established her presence in the paint for a quick eight points. Hicks proved to be a huge spark off the bench in this one, scoring on a lay-up and knocking down back-to-back three pointers that would give the Cards an 18-11 lead with 9:45 to play in the first half.
The Cards would increase the lead to as many as nine, and, following a brief Ram rally that cut the lead to three (34-31), Hicks would knock down a jumper and Hannah Schjenken banked in a three from the left baseline in the waning seconds to give the Cards a 39-31 lead heading into halftime.
Martius would knock down a three to open up the second half. The Cards appeared to be in control up 42-31, but the Rams would answer back. Led by the dynamic Borowicz duo the Rams would go on a 12-0 run to take a 43-42 lead before Schjenken stopped the bleeding with a lay-up to reclaim the lead for the Cards.
The teams would trade baskets, eventually ending up knotted at 53 with 9:27 to play. There, the Rams would go on a 10-1 run to take a 63-54 lead with 6:50 still left on the clock and 69-60 with just under five minutes. It looked like maybe the Cardinals had finally run out of gas, but that would’ve been the wrong assumption as this team would not go quietly.
Hicks would start the rally with her fourth three of the game, and a great move inside from Martius would cut the lead to 69-65. Kacie Borowicz would counter with a lay-in, but Sommers answered with four straight free throws to cut the deficit to 71-69 with 1:04 left in regulation.
An uncharacteristic double-dribble turnover on Katie Borowicz gave the ball back to the Cards, and Garman would be fouled underneath to send her to the line for a pair. She would make one of the two to cut the lead to 71-70, but Katie Borowicz would calmly sink two on the other end to make it 73-70 with 45 ticks left.
Back came the Cards, as they would find Garman alone under the basket for a deuce. A quick foul would send Kacie Borowicz to the line. She would make both to make it 75-72. Hicks then answered on the other end with a put-back bucket, and with 12 seconds remaining the Cards trailed 75-74.
The Rams then gave the Cardinals one final chance when a pass from Kacie Borowicz sailed out of bounds just over half court with 5.6 seconds to play. A Martius three to win the game would fall just short, however, and the Rams would escape with a win and a trip to the semifinals.
The Cards would shoot a solid 51 percent from the floor (28-of-55) including more than 59 percent in the first half. The Rams, meanwhile, shot just under 42 percent but were 15-of-16 from the line compared to 11-of-17 for the Cards and committed 12 turnovers to the Cards 19.
Garman would finish with a solid double-double effort of 21 points (9-of-12 shooting), 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Hicks added 20 points and four boards, and Sommers had 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Martius finished with eight points and four rebounds, Schjenken had seven points and two boards, Caitlyn Johnson had two points and Bri Panitzke had a solid stat line of two points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals.
The Cardinals run at state came to an end March 14 when they fell 41-38 to Proctor in a consolation game.