Scottsbluff, Neb.--The #3 Pronghorn women entered uncharted territory Wednesday night, as they took on #5 Northwest College in their first Region IX semifinal game of the team's history. It was a close, hard-fought game that needed overtime to decide the winner. The Pronghorns pulled it out in the extra five-minute period with an 81-74 victory.
Gillette College had a slow start when it came to getting points on the board. The Pronghorns had open looks, but couldn't do better than getting the ball on the rim. Northwest started out with a 7-2 run. The Pronghorns were able to make some buckets to keep it close. Alicia Carline was able to tie it up at 11 off a free throw.
Gillette had trouble with Leslie Blackburn and Kennedy Allen early in the game, as both Lady Trappers had little trouble getting points in the paint, under the basket.
Northwest had an 8-0 run, midway through the half, to make it a 23-15 game. Kiela Garner sank a three from the right corner to stop the Lady Trappers drive and start a Pronghorn 7-0 burst to get back to 23-22. That forced a timeout by Northwest College with 7:25 to go in the half.
Garner would steal the ball five feet into the Lady Trappers front court shortly after the timeout and drive the lay in for two. That gave Gillette their first lead at 24-23.
Throughout the first half, the Pronghorns had trouble making clean passes in the paint and were taken away by Northwest. However, Gillette continued to get some steals in the shallow front court of Northwest to stay in the game.
The Pronghorns had some help, as the Lady Trappers kept fouling Gillette College. It was hit-or-miss from the line for the Pronghorns, but it was enough to help them hold a 38-37 lead at halftime.
The entire second half was a nail-bitter. The lead see-sawed back and forth, with Gillette College holding the largest lead at six points. With a 66-64 Northwest lead and 26.6 seconds left in the game, Keke Wright made two free throws from the line to tie it up at 66 apiece. With 18 seconds to go and the Lady Trappers with the ball in their front court, the Pronghorns made sure Northwest couldn't get anything inside. A shot for three from the top of the key was off the mark and sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Lady Trappers scored first at 68-66, but Gillette tied it and took the final lead change of the game at 69-68. That was accomplished by a free throw off Wright's hands. Keke and Garner led the Pronghorns in overtime, as the two of them combined to unofficially make six of seven free throws to pad the Gillette College lead.
The Pronghorns will play Western Nebraska Thursday night, at 6pm. Western Nebraska is the host of the tournament, as they are the #1 seed from the South Subregion. The Lady Cougars defeated McCook Community Collge in their semifinal game, 89-72. You can watch the game at http://www.ihigh.com/wncc/.