BOZEMAN — Gardiner was in trouble. Big trouble.
Terry had forced a fifth and deciding game with a relatively easy 25-13 in game four.
“Let's be honest, they kicked our butts,’’ said Bruins’ senior Jackie Brennan.
And now the unbeaten Terriers were more than halfway to closing the door on game five with an 8-4 lead.
“You have to get your points in bunches of threes and fours,’’ Brennan said.
The Bruins out-scored the Terriers 7-1 with a three-point run, followed by a string of four points, Brennan put Gardiner up for good 10-9 by putting an errant Terrier pass down at the net.
“I was thinking, ‘Hit the line,’ “ said Brennan.”After we tied it (9-9) it was ‘We just have to make this happen.’ “
The Bruins rallied for a 15-12 win that puts them in tonight’s unbeaten semifinal game a second year in a row.
Gardiner will take on defending state champion Ennis at 6 p.m.
The two have split six meetings this season. Ennis defeated Gardiner last weekend for Western C Divisional title.
The Mustangs recovered from a slow start to rally past Circle 14-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-13 to also reach the unbeaten semifinal a second straight year. Junior Mikayla Ennis posted a double-double of 24 kills and 14 blocks for the winners, while teammate Rachael Croy had six aces, eight kills, three blocks and 18 assists.
The Terriers, who suffered their first loss of the season, will play a 4 p.m. loser-out match.
“I don’t know what happened between those four points,’’ said Brennan of trailing 8-4. “Honestly, I think at the end we just capitalized on their errors.”
Gardiner withstood the 1-2 hitting assault of Dani Dukart and Carly Stickel of Terry. The hard-hitting duo combined for 42 of the Terriers’ 53 kills.
“You have to get low and prepare for the ball to come at you 80 miles an hour,’’ Brennan said. “They like to take their swings, so you know there will be a few misses.”
Brennan finished with a team-high 13 kills for the Bruins, while Eva Stone had four aces.
“We kind of lost our heads for a while with our passing,’’ said Terry head coach Jasmine Freiboth. “When we made our first pass, we were pretty tough to stop. But we have to come back and have confidence in our passing again. It starts with the first pass.”
Dukart also had 14 digs, three blocks and four aces for Terry, Stickel finished with a triple-double of 18 kills, 26 assists and 13 digs.
Terry opened with a 25-17-, 25-16, 25-9 win over Geraldine. Dukart and Stickel combined for 34 kills.
Gardiner began the state tournament with a 25-17, 27-25, 25-15 victory against Joliet. Amber McLaughlin and Maddie Hoenighausen each had nine kills for the Bruins. Rachelle Bennett posted a double-double of 13 kills and 18 digs.
Sullivan had 18 kills, 12 assists, six aces and six blocks in Ennis’ 25-19, 25-22, 25-18 win over Bridger to open the tournament.
A balanced offense carried Circle past Fort Benton 25-21, 25-22, 25-22 in the first round. Ali Fritz (12), Carmen Hinnaland (12) and Tina Van Horn (10) were all in double figures for kills. Cassie Groh added 10 digs, while Allison Wittkopp had 36 assists.
Fritz had a double-double of11 kills and10 digs in the loss to Ennis. Van Horn added 10 digs and eight kills, while Sutton finished with nine kills.