MURDOCK – Elmwood-Murdock athletes made the pulses of everyone in attendance beat a little faster as the seconds ticked down Saturday against Oakland-Craig.
E-M fans enjoyed their elevated heartrates after the Knights won a thriller on the court.
Sydney Kunz drained a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to help E-M defeat Oakland-Craig 46-45. The dramatic outcome capped a late rally for E-M against OCHS. Elmwood-Murdock overcame a 41-36 deficit with ten points in the final stretch.
Oakland-Craig (10-3) had entered the game with confidence after taking down previously-undefeated Stanton 36-30 the night before. OCHS had also stopped third-ranked Malcolm 44-40 in a holiday tournament Dec. 30.
Elmwood-Murdock (8-4) went toe to toe with Oakland-Craig from the opening tip. E-M seized a 7-2 lead on baskets by Danielle Neels and Kunz and free throws from Neels and Wenzel. Baskets from Lauren Justesen and Neels gave the Knights a 15-12 lead after one quarter, and Justesen’s short jumper late in the second period created a 21-19 halftime edge.
The teams traded momentum spurts throughout the second half. Wenzel’s 3-pointer snapped a 28-28 tie late in the third quarter, and a short jumper by Paige Mortimer gave the Knights a 33-30 lead early in the fourth period. Oakland-Craig then used an 11-3 scoring spree to go up 41-36.
Elmwood-Murdock whittled away the deficit with its work in the lane. Justesen and Neels each sank solo free throws and Neels made a five-footer to bring E-M within 41-40. Wenzel sliced Oakland-Craig’s lead to 44-43 with a late free throw, and OCHS made it a two-point game with a solo free throw. That set the stage for Kunz’s dramatic trey at the buzzer.
Elmwood-Murdock outrebounded Oakland-Craig 38-23 and grabbed 15 offensive boards. The Knights also dished out 11 assists and made five steals.
Neels generated 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks for E-M. Justesen collected 11 points, eight boards, two assists and one steal, and Wenzel produced ten points, eight rebounds and two assists.
Kunz ended the afternoon with six points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals. Mortimer poured in two points and five rebounds, Kylee Synovec tallied five rebounds and one steal and Sydney Anderson had two rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Oakland-Craig 12 7 9 17 – 45
Elmwood-Murdock 15 6 10 15 – 46
Wenzel 3-6 2-4 10, Kunz 2-7 0-0 6, Mortimer 1-2 0-2 2, Justesen 5-14 1-2 11, Neels 7-15 3-7 17, Anderson 0-7 0-2 0, Synovec 0-0 0-0 0, Halferty 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-52 6-17 46.