By PATRICK SLACK
A 35-second, eight-point flurry nearly pulled the Little Falls girls basketball team back from a double-digit deficit in the final 90 seconds of Thursday’s home game against Pierz.
But the Pioneers hit four free throws down the stretch to dodge the comeback effort and pull out a 47-40 win.
Trailing 43-32 with 1:23 remaining, junior Gabby Nouis converted a three-point play with a basket and free throw to close the gap to single digits.
Sophomore Kendra Pohlman followed with a three-pointer on the Flyers’ next possession to make it 43-38, then senior Jamie Jenks stole the ball at midcourt and drove in for an uncontested layup, pulling Little Falls within one possession at 43-40 with 48 seconds left.
The Flyers couldn’t get any closer, though, as Pierz junior Bridget Bednar sank a pair of free throws with 43 seconds to play and senior Megan Boser sealed the win with two more with four seconds left.
Pierz started the game fast for the second contest in a row, jumping out to a 10-3 lead.
Little Falls stormed right back, however, going on an 11-0 run to take its biggest lead at 14-10.
A three-pointer by Pierz senior Elizabeth Tomala stopped the Flyers’ momentum and started a 13-3 spurt leading into halftime that put the Pioneers ahead 23-17.
Little Falls scored the first six points of the second half to tie the score at 23-23, but was unable to take the lead during the second half.
Megan Boser led Pierz offensively with 12 points, followed by Bednar with eight and Tomala and senior Michaela Rocheleau with seven apiece.
Bednar added 18 rebounds and five steals and sophomore Kayla Carter pulled down six rebounds.
Little Falls was led by Jenks with 16 points, nine steals and six rebounds, with Pohlman and freshman Melanie Dorn contributing six points apiece.
Nouis and Pohlman each grabbed seven rebounds and junior Laura Moe recorded four steals.
Little Falls plays at Fergus Falls, Saturday, and Pierz plays next at Albany, Tuesday.
Pierz 47, Little Falls 40
Pierz 23 24 – 47
Little Falls 17 23 – 40
Pierz—Megan Boser, 12; Bridget Bednar, 8 (18 rebounds, 5 steals); Michaela Rocheleau, 7; Elizabeth Tomala, 7 (3 steals); Kayla Carter, 5 (6 rebounds); Alyssa Boser, 4 (4 rebounds); Shelbie Boser, 2; Tiara Hopkins, 2.
Little Falls—Jamie Jenks, 16 (9 steals, 6 rebounds); Melanie Dorn, 6; Kendra Pohlman, 6 (7 rebounds); Gabby Nouis, 5 (7 rebounds); Katie Stewart, 3; Laura Moe, 2 (4 steals); Jennifer Ronning, 2.