By Travis Mounts
It took a pair of overtimes and a quarter of perfect defense, but the Garden Plain Owls girls basketball team is heading back to the Class 2A State tournament.
The Owls held of the Independent Panthers 50-43 in double overtime on Saturday evening in Garden Plain. The win puts the Owls in their fourth consecutive State tournament. They won the 3A title in 2018, and then claimed the 2A title in 2019. Last year, Garden Plain won its opener and advanced to the 2A final four before all State tournaments were cancelled because of the pandemic.
Independent took the early lead, and by halftime held a 24-17 advantage over the Owls, who actually played as the visiting team on their home court even though they were the higher seed.
Garden Plain got back into this game by holding Independent scoreless in the third quarter, turning a 7-point deficit into a 31-24 lead at the start of the fourth quarter thanks to a 14-0 run.
The Panthers hurt themselves in the fourth quarter with traveling calls, especially early when they called whistled four times. But the Owls gave the ball back a couple of times, and the Panthers made two big 3-point shots as they went on an 8-0 run to go up 32-31.
With Independent ahead 36-35, Madysen Zoglman took a pass from Sydney Puetz and made a 3-pointer for a 38-36 Garden Plain lead with 1:11 to play. The Owls had a chanced to add to their lead less than 30 seconds later, but a missed free throw turned into an Independent fast break, and the Panthers tied the Owls at 38 with 38 seconds to go. Garden Plain missed a final chance to go ahead on a low-post shot, and Independent’s desperation shot from just inside half-court missed.
The teams were still tied after the first overtime, 40-40. The Owls went just 2-for-6 from the line in that overtime, and the Panthers also hit two free throws.
Garden Plain scored first in the second overtime, when Zoglman cut into the late, caught a pass for Alli Puetz and scored on a lay-in for a 42-40 lead. About a minute later, Puetz scored from the post on a pass from Gorges and the Owls led 44-40 with 2:30 to play. An Independent free throw made it 44-41.
On the Panthers’ next possession, they missed a shot and Sydney Puetz ripped the rebound away from a Panther. She drove the court and dished to Rolfs, who scored from the low-post for a 46-41 lead with 1:36 to play.
A Garden Plain foul with 1:05 to go put Nicole szadkowska on the line, and she made both shots to make it 46-43.
Independent missed a potential game-tying shot with under 25 seconds to play, and then had to foul once Garden Plain rebound. Sydney Puetz and Zoglman each made a pair of free throws to seal the win.
Madysen Zoglman was the game’s top scorer with 17 points. The Owls had a solid group of scorers supporting Zoglman, as Madelyn Rolfs, Sydney Puetz and Christia Rose Gorges scored 8 each.
The Owls shot under 50 percent (15-for-32) on free throws, but kept themselves in the game with a 32-23 rebounding edge. Garden Plain topped Independent 10-2 on second-chance points.
Garden Plain: Zoglman 17, Rolfs 8, S. Puetz 8, Gorges 8, Alli Puetz 6, Brooke Hammond 2, Celia Puetz 1.