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Mariner girls end season in overtime

Silver Bay junior Jenny Walewski brings the ball into the zone during a Section 7A tournment game against South Ridge at Esko High School March 2. (News-Chronicle photo by Adelle Whitefoot)1 / 2
Silver Bay junior Jocelyn Russell (3) pushes past a South Ridge player during a Section 7A tournment game at Esko High School March 2. (News-Chronicle photo by Adelle Whitefoot)2 / 2

Silver Bay played what were probably its two best halves of basketball all season, but the Mariners still fell to South Ridge in overtime 62-55 March 2 in the opening round of the Section 7A tournament in Esko.

Silver Bay jumped out to an 25-17 lead at halftime and the Mariners continued to lead throughout most of the second half, extending the lead to 12 at one point and even led by 10 with three minutes remaining in the game.

"We were up by 10 and they started to become more aggressive with their full court press," Mariner coach Dan Johnson said. "We gave up the ball three times and they scored each time off of the turnover."

In addition to the turnovers, Silver Bay hurt its own cause with missed free throws. As a team, the Mariners were just 14-for-31 from the free throw line and missed several down the stretch to allow South Ridge to close the gap to just three points with six seconds remaining, when Celia Olesiak hit a buzzer beater to tie the game at 61 and send it to overtime.

"They called a timeout and we adjusted by coming out in a man-to-man defense," Johnson said. "We tried to prevent the three, but (Olesiak) made a real nice shot to put the game into overtime."

The overtime period was the first all season for Silver Bay and the Panthers quickly jumped out to a six point advantage and the Mariners couldn't take the initiative back.

Junior Jocelyn Russell recorded a double double with 32 points and 11 rebounds to lead Silver Bay and guard Jenny Walewski added 13 points and seven assists to the effort. Other scorers included Mita Frericks with six points and Lily Mead and Hannah Thums with two each.

"We wanted to win that game but were pleased with how well we played," Johnson said. "I hope that this motivates the younger girls to work even harder in the off season so that we can make it to the next round."

Silver Bay's six wins was more than any season in the last five years for the Mariners. If not for an early ankle injury that kept Russell out of several early games and a back injury that sidelined sophomore Alexxa DeQuevedo for the entire season, Silver Bay's win total could have been significantly higher than it was.

Silver Bay might not be contending for a section title next season, but with Walewski developing into a better ball handler, full seasons from Russell and DeQuevedo and continued development from younger players, the Mariners' future is as bright as it has been in some time.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle in August 2015. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and previously worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. He is the beat writer for the Lake County Board of Commissioners, Silver Bay City Council and high school sports in Lake County. 

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