The Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms girls basketball team was looking to close out the regular season with a win at home Friday night versus Bethlehem Academy in a Gopher Conference matchup, and on Senior Night, the Blossoms used a 9-0 run late in the second half to win a slow-down, half-court, defensive tussle 37-36.
Blooming Prairie led 7-4 early in the first half Friday night, but the Cardinals, led by the 3-point shooting of sophomore guard Anna Cohen and three field goals from senior forward Lindsay Hanson went on a 7-0 run to take an 11-7 lead, and the Bethlehem Academy defense forced ten first half turnovers as the Cardinals led 16-13 at the halftime break.
Bethlehem Academy continued to hold a lead through the second half as a 3-pointer from Cohen, her third and final 3-point field goal for the game gave the Cardinals a 19-14 lead. Blooming Prairie then started to close the gap as the Blossoms’ 2-3 zone defense forced stops and turnovers, and 6’1″ senior post Anna Pauly cashed in on a layup to tie the game at 25. The Cardinals worked their way back in front by three at 28-25, but a 3-pointer from junior guard Shawntee Snyder knotted the game at 28 apiece heading down the stretch. Bethlehem Academy’s Kate Trump, the club’s leading average scorer with 10 points per game drilled a three to key a quick 5-0 Cardinal run to put them in the lead at 33-28, but it was at that point where the eventual game-winning run commenced for the Blossoms as a baseline jumper from Snyder cut the Cardinal lead to 33-31, and after a FBA turnover, a runner in the lane from eight feet from Pauly knotted the score at 33 apiece with 1:30 left. After the Blossoms forced another turnover, one of eight committed by the Cardinals in the second half and 16 for the game with under a minute to go, the Blossoms gained possession and ran the clock down until junior guard Macy Lembke put up a tough runner on a drive to the right baseline from 10 feet out that went off the glass and through the hoop with 29.5 seconds left to put BP in the lead at 35-33. After a missed 3-pointer from Cohen on the next Cardinal possession, senior forward Chloe McCarthy pulled in the rebound, drew a foul and sank two clutch free throws in a 1-and-1 situation with :14 seconds left to push the Blossoms lead to two possessions at 37-33. Kate Trump then drilled an NBA-range 3-pointer from the right wing to cut Blooming Prairie’s lead to 37-36, but the Blossoms were able to inbound to Lembke, who was fouled with 1.9 seconds to go. Lembke missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but the ball was tipped to the right corner, and it went out of bounds in a three-player scrum for the rebound to run out the clock and give Blooming Prairie the comeback win.
Seven different Blossoms scored in the game, led by Anna Pauly, who tallied eight of her 12 points in the second half. Shawntee Snyder wound up with eight points, Macy Lembke scored seven points, Haven Carlson tallied four points and Addison Doocy, Chloe McCarthy and Claire Schwarz all scored two points apiece in the win.
Blooming Prairie ends the regular season with a record of 11-12 overall, and the Blossoms will start the Section 1AA tournament at a site yet to be determined next Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.