Rocky women make playoffs with OT win

2013-02-23T22:15:00Z 2013-02-24T01:06:04Z Rocky women make playoffs with OT winBy BILL BIGHAUS bbighaus@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

With an absolutely wild finish on Saturday night, Rocky Mountain College is postseason bound in Frontier Conference women's basketball.

Needing a win, the Battlin' Bears received a career-high 31 points from junior guard Brittany Kumm and outlasted the University of Great Falls 89-82 in an overtime shootout at Rocky's Fortin Center.

The Bears built a big lead early, fell behind late and then won with drama and determination at the end.

"It was a crazy ride, it really was," said the 5-foot-4 Kumm, who is from Great Falls. "But in the end we wanted it more and I think that came through."

With the win, the Bears, who finished 7-9 in league and are 10-16 overall, secured the No. 5 seed and will open the Frontier tournament at No. 4 Montana State Northern (8-8, 16-12) on Tuesday night.

In the late game of the doubleheader, Rocky's men used a 14-1 run midway through the second half to break away from UGF and go on to post a 75-68 victory.

"I thought we really worked well together as a team and did what we needed to do to get another really good, quality win," Rocky coach Bill Dreikosen said.

The Rocky men, who have won five of their last six games, secured the No. 5 seed with its latest triumph.

The Bears, who wound up 9-7 in league and are 18-12 overall, will play at No. 4 Westminster College (9-6, 22-7) on Wednesday night in the first round of the postseason tournament.

No. 6 UGF, 8-8 and 17-13, will play at No. 3 MSU Northern (10-6, 22-8).

Rocky women 89, UGF 82, OT

Kumm sent the game into overtime tied at 74-all by knocking down her sixth 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining in regulation play.

The Bears went on to outscore the Argos 15-8 during the five-minute overtime.

A driving layup by Haleigh Crnkovich knotted the game at 82-82 with 1:47 to go.

Then teammate Brittany Myers came up with a steal and buried a short jumper to put Rocky ahead for keeps, 84-82, with 1:27 left.

The Bears made five of six free throws inside the final 30 seconds to keep UGF at bay.

"It was a great way to make the playoffs," Rocky coach Brian Henderson said. "We've been talking all year about the character of this group and this team. I mean, what better way to demonstrate that than this game ...

"They gutted it up and made plays and hit some shots. That's all heart and that's all character right there. We talk about playing at this time of year with passion, and the girls did a really good job of that."

Kumm tallied 20 first-half points -- on 8 of 12 shooting with four 3-pointers -- as Rocky quickly built a double-digit lead en route to a 42-32 halftime advantage.

A 3-pointer by Taylor Hurst from the top of the key had the Bears in command 47-34 with 19:00 to play.

UGF, 4-12 and 14-16, then heated up inside and out in catching Rocky and building a 72-64 lead with 2:40 remaining.

The determined Bears, hustling on defense, closed with a 10-2 run -- holding the Argos scoreless in the final 1:48.

Right before she made her tying 3-pointer, Kumm had missed a 3-point shot. However, Myers got the rebound and Kumm nailed her second chance from the wing -- putting a shock in the crowd.

In the end, though, Rocky couldn't get a 3-pointer by Hurst or a follow-up shot by Kalli McCloskey to fall in the closing seconds and the game went into OT.

"It was a big night, an emotional night because of our seniors and everything," said Kumm, who entered the game averaging a team-leading 11.3 points. "We were just not ready to end our season."

Hurst finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, Myers grabbed 13 rebounds and McCloskey contributed 11 points and eight steals.

Kumm's hot hand, though, stole the show.

"My teammates just found me and kept looking for me and I was on," she said. "I had a good feeling all day. I was ready to play the game and have fun and it worked out."

UGF was led by the double-doubles of Kinda Jones (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Lindsey Abramson (17 points and 11 rebounds). Sydnee Burke drained five 3-pointers for 15 points.

Rocky men 75, UGF 68

With the Bears clinging to a 46-44 lead, a rough foul by UGF's Reid Tramelli against Rocky center Jeremy Nicolas with 11:19 left seemed to fire up the home team.

Rocky went off on a 14-1 spurt over the next five minutes to lead 60-45 with 6:34 to play. Three-pointers by Nile Finney, Joel Barndt and Joe Stulc helped highlight the surge.

"I don't know if there's any one thing that fired them up," Dreikosen said of his Bears. "I just thought it was a hard-fought game by both teams. I felt Great Falls was ready -- and so were we.  It was just a battle, and somewhere in a battle you've got to break loose."

The Argos didn't get any closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Barndt helped the Rocky cause with his double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Matt Strickland added 13 points and Malachi Roberts 12.

The Bears, who lost in OT at UGF earlier in the year, shot 8 of 15 from 3-point range, while the Argos were 12 of 32.

UGF received 18 points -- including six 3-pointers -- from Miguel Bocachica.

Marcel Towns, who is the conference's scoring leader, finished with 13 points for the Argos. That's six points below his average.

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