Nokomis High School got the opportunity to host regionals this year, meaning the Lady Redskins had the home court advantage.
On Thursday, Feb. 13, they hosted Calhoun in the regional semifinals. They had all week long to prepare for this match-up, which meant they would be on their A-game. The players were all buzzing with both nerves and excitement as they all knew what was waiting for them at the “finish line.”
As play began, it was clear that it was going to be an evenly matched game. Firing on all cylinders, the Lady Redskins seemed to be doing everything right during the first quarter. They were knocking down shots, not turning the ball over and stopping Calhoun on the offensive end. The intensity from the Redskins gave them the lead at the end of the first quarter 14 to 11.
In the second quarter, Calhoun got lucky with a few banked-in shots as well as a few Redskin errors which gave them a six-point lead going into the locker room at half time (23-17).
Knowing what had to be done, the Redskins came out at half and shut down Calhoun in the third quarter, only allowing them to score one point.
Unfortunately for the Skins, they were also having a difficult time scoring against Calhoun. They got every shot they wanted, but they weren’t falling.
As the fourth quarter started, everything was on the line for the Lady Redskins. Allowing Calhoun to score a few easy layups, Nokomis needed to find their intensity again. They soon found it, as Natalie Engelman found her groove and knocked down a three that tied up the game, 26 to 26.
The tension was high in the gym as the seconds ticked down.
Calhoun gained a two point lead with minutes to go in the game. The Lady Redskins had multiple opportunities to tie the game or take the lead, but their shots were not falling.
Going into the final seconds, the Redskins needed to foul in order to stop the clock, sending Calhoun players to the free-throw line. With heavy hearts and tears flowing, the Lady Redskins left their hearts out on the court as they walked away, defeated 33 to 29.
The Lady Redskins were led by Natalie Engelman, who had 10 points. Audrey Sabol and Macee Eisenbarth were able to pull down rebounds, with seven for Sabol and eight for Eisenbarth.
Nokomis would finish the season with a record of 12-20.
February 13 at Nokomis
Class 1A Nokomis Regional
Nokomis 14 3 2 10 29
Calhoun 11 12 1 9 33
Nokomis (29) - Natalie Engelman 10, Mia Fesser 7, Macee Eisenbarth 5, Audrey Sabol 4, Hailey Engelman 3. Totals: 11-37 4-8 29.
Three-point field goals: Nokomis 3-14 (N. Engelman 2, Fesser 1).
Records: Nokomis (12-20); Calhoun (9-18).