Dutchgirl fourth-quarter rally falls short

Will Johnson
Sports Editor

UNION — Underdog Dutchgirls.

Seeded sixth in the MSHSAA Class 4, District 10 Girls Basketball Tournament at Union High School last week, that was the role Ryan Flanagan’s Owensville Dutchgirl basketball team took on.

Knocking off third-seeded Sullivan and second-seeded St. Clair the previous two rounds, OHS earned a shot Friday night at the top-seeded Rolla Lady Bulldogs in the district championship game.

After seeing an early 2-0 lead disappear in the opening moments, Flanagan’s Dutchgirls kept playing catch up the rest of the evening.

Down 46-34 going into the fourth quarter, Owensville got as close as one on an Ella Wright 3-pointer at the 3:45 mark leaving them trailing 54-53.

Unable to get any closer from there, OHS saw their Cinderella run through the district tournament end coming up on the short end of a 62-60 final score.

“We doubled our win total from last year and made an appearance in the district championship game,” Flanagan said. “I’m really pleased with how we played as a team down the home stretch of this season.”

A mere 25 ticks into the game, senior Breanna Diestelkamp gave Owensville an early 2-0 lead on an assist from Liana Miller.

“I feel for those seniors as they weren’t quite able to end their seasons with a victory,” Flanagan said. “I’m really proud of my kids and how far the program has come along this year.”

Trading points with Rolla the rest of the opening quarter, OHS trailed the Lady Bulldogs 13-7 after eight minutes of district championship basketball.

Finding themselves down 23-14 with 3:00 until halftime, the Dutchgirls closed the gap thanks to a duo of scorers.

Diestelkamp scored two buckets in the span of a minute before Anna Skornia put one in with :44 for the second quarter cutting the RHS lead to 23-20.

Rolla answered with a pair of Kianna Garner buckets in the final :30 leaving Owensville with a 27-22 halftime deficit.

Diestelkamp nearly recorded a double double in the first half finishing with nine points and eight rebounds. Carli Libhart paced Rolla with nine first-half points.

Keeping up with the top-seeded Lady Bulldogs throughout the majority of the third quarter, Owensville found themselves down three points 35-32 on an Anna Skornia free throw at the 1:24 mark of the quarter.

From there, Rolla closed the third period on an 11-2 run to take a 46-34 lead going into the fourth quarter.

In the opening moments of the fourth quarter, OHS showed they weren’t going to lay down or go away quietly.

Kate Angell splashed home a 3-pointer cutting their deficit back into single digits 46-37 with 7:40 remaining in the game.

Continuing to chip away throughout the final eight minutes, Flanagan’s Dutchgirls got within a single point on a Wright 3-pointer from the corner with 3:45 remaining leaving OHS trailing 54-53.

Two free throws from Rolla’s Ellie Rodgers and an Angell basket made the score 56-55 in favor of the Lady Bulldogs with 2:32 left.

A pair of free throws from Loran Pritchett along with another Angell bucket put the score up to 58-57 with 1:42 left showing on the game clock at Union High School.

Trailing 62-57 with 13.4 remaining, Finley canned a 3-pointer in the closing seconds before time ran out on the underdog Dutchgirls.

Diestelkamp ended her outstanding OHS Dutchgirl basketball career with a game-high double double of 18 points and 11 rebounds along with four blocked shots.

Miller capped her outstanding senior season finishing in double figures with 15 points.

Scoring eight of her 12 points in the second half, Finley made it a trio of Dutchgirls scoring in double digits.

Angell did all of her damage in the fourth quarter scoring all seven points for Owensville.

Skornia and Wright each chipped in three points while Stephani Elliott added two points on a pair of free throws in the third quarter.

By virtue of winning the district championship, Rolla advanced to one of eight sectional contests last night (Tuesday) against Osage’s Lady Indians at the Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building on the campus of the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Following the tournament, coaches from Salem, St. Clair, Union, Rolla, Sullivan and Owensville voted on the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association (MBCA) All-District Teams.

Diestelkamp and Miller were both named to the 10-person team from Flanagan’s Dutchgirls.

In the boy’s championship game from UHS, Rolla looked to join their Lady Bulldog counterparts taking on Sullivan’s Eagles.

Behind a second-half comeback, Dino McKinney’s Eagles denied a Rolla sweep defeating the top-seeded Bulldogs, 48-38.

Sullivan ended Owensville’s season back on Saturday, Feb. 23 handing the Dutchmen a 67-37 loss in first-round district action.

Representing the Four Rivers Conference (FRC) as the last boy’s or girl’s team standing, Sullivan took on Warrensburg’s Tigers last night (Tuesday) at Missouri S & T.