Firebird girls lose a heartbreaker

J. Reed Anderson, DLJ GM
Mattea Vetsch shuts down a drive by Paige Johnson.

The Devils Lake Firebird girls lost a heartbreaker last night to the West Fargo Sheyenne Mustangs.

A couple of early turnovers put the Firebirds on the board, but play overall was inconclusive until the Firebirds went to a full court press and then they went on a 10-0 run.The pressure forced Mustang errors at or before half court.Jess Mertens and Kyleigh Toso were very quick and produce many of the turnovers.Mattea Vetsch pushed her way along the baseline offensively.

The Mustangs tried pressing, too, but the Firebirds were very good at breaking it.The Firebirds were also very dominant on the boards.The Mustangs pulled within five at one point in the first half, but the Firebirds shut them down and went into halftime up 33-22.

The Firebirds controlled the majority of the second half, leading by at least 10 for most of it.And then suddenly the Mustangs were in the game and with 6:30 left, took their first lead, 47-46.The Firebirds looked like they just got stuck in the man-on Mustang zone and quit pushing the paint and the baseline.

Instead they kept the ball outside and made bad passes that got picked off, or threw away the ball, or just got the ball stolen.The Mustangs took full advantage, and led by Yasmina Dokara, just started walking away with the game.

Mertens got the Firebirds the lead back with two from the line, and they went up seven, 54-47.But they couldn’t hold it, and Mustang Kierra Freih took back the lead with a three, 55-54.Another bucket made it 57-54.

With six seconds left, Chiara Olson found the bottom of the net and it was a one point game again at 57-56.The Firebirds forced the Mustangs to make a turnover on the inbound pass.It was one shot country with five seconds left.The Mustangs got two shots, in the paint, in heavy traffic, one from Jailyn Martinson and the other from Mertens, but neither got the call and the buzzer ended the game.The Mustangs came from behind to win 57-56.