HOISINGTON, Kan. A play early in the fourth quarter of Thursday's Class 3A sub-state semifinal summed up a fast and physical night of basketball. Russell senior Audrey Buzzell grabbed a rebound before falling down.She put up a shot from her back and Tiffany Dortland was there for the offensive board.
That was just one of many lead changes in the final eight minutes of action. TMP led 46-41 with 3:23 to play. But it was a big finish from Dortland and the Lady Broncs to advance with a 51-48 win.
"We've just really wanted to beat them for so long," Dortland said. "The fight we had, it was there completely."
Dortland made both of her free throws on that offensive rebound for a 32-31 lead. TMP answered via a spin move from junior Adell Riedel, then senior Jillian Lowe popped a three to give the Monarchs a 36-32 edge with 5:51 to play.
Lowe converted another 3-point play before Russell's Megan Peeler cut into the gap. Then Dortland provided one of her biggest shots of the night with a pull-up trey to tie the game at 45 with 3:45 still on the clock.
TMP bounced right back with a 3-point play from freshman Emilee Lane and free throws from sophomore Kyleigh Allen to again stretch the gap to five at 46-41.
Lady Bronc freshman Camille Dortland was huge in the second quarter with eight-straight points for Russell. She put up her biggest shot of the night with a 3-ball with 2:16 to play. Tiffany Dortland slipped by a defender to put the Broncs up for good with 80 ticks left.
Not that the finish was without drama. Tiffany Dortland went to the line with just 16 seconds to play and a 48-46 lead. She missed her first free throw but got the second to roll in.
"I saw it almost roll out and I was so happy when it went in," she said. "I was really nervous because I missed the first one."
TMP had one final chance to tie. Instead a drive resulted in a turnover and Tiffany Dortland was able to play keepaway until the final horn.
Lowe scored nine of her 17 points in the final quarter to lead TMP. She also grabbed five rebounds. Lane added 11 points and 13 rebounds, and senior Emily Schippers scored six of her eight points in the track meet that was the first quarter.
The Dortlands proved huge for Russell. Tiffany scored 22 of her game-high 27 points in the second half. With her late three, Camille finished with 13 points. Peeler scored seven points before fouling out.
Russell advances to Saturday's sub-state championship game against sixth-ranked Norton. Winter weather is threatening to change the tip-off time.
"I think we just have to be mentally ready," Tiffany said. "We definitely have to practice because they have a height advantage. Hopefully we'll be able to take it to them."