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It’s a good thing, too, because had freshman Caelyn Orlandi not stepped up Saturday, Coeur d’Alene wouldn’t have captured a third consecutive championship.
“She’s my MVP,” CdA coach Dale Poffenroth said after the
Vikings rallied to a 51-45 win over rival
The 5-foot-8 guard finished with 13 points, 11 in the fourth quarter including 7 of 8 free throws.
“I just played hard,” Orlandi said. “I finally got to get into a big game. It’s a good time to start, though. I enjoyed it.”
CdA’s starting guards – Dayna Drager, Amanda Buttrey and Heather Baughman – were a combined 0-for-11 shooting in the first half. CdA’s poor shooting in general allowed the Bengals to build as much as a 10-point lead in the third quarter.
Rosenthal, CdA’s 6-3 post, single-handedly kept the Vikings
(22-4) within eyesight of
Then in the fourth quarter, Buttrey, who had missed her first eight shots, finally found the range. The first shot she made was a 3-pointer that would have been good from behind an NBA arc, and the shot capped a 12-0 run by the Vikings and extended CdA’s lead to 41-36 with 3:08 to go.
Buttrey was well aware of her struggles.
“I knew it,” Buttrey said. “But (Poffenroth) said ‘if you’re open take it, I’m giving you the green light.’ I just had to have faith in myself and keep going.”
“To be honest, you want to know the game changer? It was Buttrey’s 3-pointer,” Teichmer said. “She had struggled shooting. She pulls the trigger on that bomb and it didn’t hit anything but net. It seemed like our girls were almost in shock with it going in.”
Moments later, Buttrey hit a 17-footer that kept CdA’s margin at five points (43-35) with 1:45 to go.
From that point,
Orlandi wasn’t concerned that the Vikings trailed 36-29 going into the final quarter.
“I just figured we’ve got to play hard to pull it off,” she said. “We had to be patient on offense, get a good shot and get a stop on defense. We finished it.”
CdA’s two seniors, Buttrey and Drager, struggled mightily at times.
“I think both seniors were wound up really tight,” Poffenroth said. “I’m not sure why. Maybe it was because there were just two of them. But they settled down. We moved Dayna off the point and put her on the block. And she played great defense and did some things that won’t show up in the boxscore.”
Senior guards Jessica Kramer and Nicole Redd led
“They started making some shots and Carli (Rosenthal) did a great job for them,” Teichmer said. “I don’t know if we played tentative to protect the lead or just didn’t play as aggressive as we had been. We definitely didn’t attack like we had been.”
Teichmer is convinced the Bengals are as good as CdA.
“We’re 2-2 against
Teichmer said his team has nothing to be ashamed of.
“As every day passes, we’ll get more proud of this moment,” he said. “Right now we’re disappointed that we’re not the champs, but these kids will be more proud of second in time. They’ll have this memory the rest of their lives.”