Redemption part of Barnum's playoff winHIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL: Center Daron Mainville had a game-high 20 points as the Bombers held on for a 56-55 win over previously unbeaten North Woods, ranked third in Class A.
By: Jon Nowacki, Duluth News Tribune
Barnum girls basketball coach Randy Myhre heard the tearful apology from center Daron Mainville but couldn’t help but be skeptical.
Myhre knew that most players facing a six-week suspension, like Mainville faced earlier this season, would quit.
Mainville never did, and the Bombers appear the better for it, based on Wednesday’s Section 7A semifinal game played before about 1,400 spectators at Romano Gym.
In her third game back, Mainville had a game-high 20 points as Barnum held on for a 56-55 win over previously unbeaten North Woods, ranked third in Class A.
Unranked Barnum advances to play sixth-ranked defending section champion Mountain Iron-Buhl in the 7A final at 7 p.m. Friday at Romano as the Bombers will try for their 10th trip to the state tournament, all since 1996.
“Daron paid her dues and deserved another chance,” Myhre said. “She apologized, but words don’t mean much if they’re not backed up by action, and Daron acted on her words. She worked hard in practice and put in extra time. She earned her way back onto the court.”
North Woods (25-1) trailed 46-33 with about seven minutes to play before mounting a furious rally to pull within three, only to come up short after Darby Youngstrom, rather than attempt a 3-pointer, drove the lane for a layup but wasn’t able to draw contact with 1.2 seconds remaining. Barnum (24-5) got the inbounds pass in and the game was over.
“It was a gritty performance on the part of our team to battle back, but we just never shot well,” North Woods coach Ashlee Zupancich said. “It was just one of those games. Barnum is a different team with Mainville inside, no question. You could tell she missed not being on the court. She’s come back with a vengeance.”
Mainville, a 6-foot-1 sophomore who averages more than 20 points per game, provided a steady presence inside, with 12 of her points coming in the second half, often whenever North Woods tried to make a run. Despite foul trouble, she played solid defense against Grizzlies’ 6-0 center Lashae Brooks, who overpowered the Bombers inside in a 71-50 victory on Feb. 2 in Barnum while Mainville continued to sit out her suspension.
“I’m just happy to be back,” Mainville said. “I made a mistake, and it was so not worth it. I apologized to the team, and at first it was awkward, but you have to put it behind you. It hurt sitting out, but now I want to show people in Barnum that I know what my priorities are and that it won’t happen again.”
Barnum historically likes to go with a high-pressure defense, but that hasn’t been as easy to maintain this season as the Bombers have only gone six or seven players deep. Take out Mainville, and the talent pool is even thinner.
Only four players scored for Barnum on Wednesday, with Claire Rodgers and Claudia Turner adding 15 points apiece and Katie Myhre, Randy’s daughter, being held in check with six.
Brooks led North Woods with 15, while Darby Youngstrom had 14 and Destinie Villebrun adding 11.
“Daron is really laidback and is just a nice person,” said Turner, a high-energy player who complements Mainville’s inside game with her slashing drives to the basket. “People like being around her, so she was easy to welcome back.”
North Woods 18-37—55
North Woods — Tessa Mankus 5, Rachel Harmston 2, Krystal Brodeen 2, Amber Zapata 6, Darby Youngstrom 14, Destinie Villebrun 11, Lashae Brooks 15. Totals 23 8-17 55.
3-point goals — Mankus.
Barnum — Katie Myhre 6, Claire Rodgers 15, Claudia Turner 15, Daron Mainville 20. Totals 24 5-7 56.
3-point goals — Myhre 2, Rodgers.
MOUNTAIN IRON-BUHL 54,
COOK COUNTY 35
Rangers coach Jeff Buffetta didn’t mince words in his halftime pep talk in the second semifinal Wednesday at Romano, saying what he said was to the point, but not worth repeating.
Whatever Buffetta said, it worked, as his team came out electric, outscoring the Vikings 28-5 while holding Polar League most valuable player Ashley Deschampe scoreless in the second half.
“They took our first-half defensive effort to heart,” Buffetta said. “They came out on fire.
“Cook County has a terrific player in Deschampe, so you have to do things disciplined as a team to contain her. You have to be smart.”
Dakotah Winans had 15 points to lead MIB (28-1), while Deschampe, a senior guard who came in averaging about 23 points per contest and scored a school-record 44 in the second round, was held to 10 points for the Vikings (18-9). Deschampe was guarded much of the second half by seventh-grader Mya Buffetta, Jeff’s niece.
Now another challenge awaits in Barnum, which lost 64-47 to MIB on Jan. 16 but was without star post player Daron Mainville.
“The tradition of Barnum girls basketball speaks for itself,” Jeff Buffetta said. “We know to beat Barnum, we have to play top-notch basketball.”
Cook County 30-5—35
Mountain Iron-Buhl 26-28—54
Cook County — Jessica Berg-Collman 2, Ashley Deschampe 10, Breana Peterson 5, Bekah Laky 4, Theresa Morrin 8, Lily Gruber-Schulz 6. Totals 12 11-16 35.
3-point goals — None.
Mountain Iron-Buhl — Dakotah Winans 15, Sarah Overbye 11, Mya Buffetta 4, Allie Knuti 6, Marissa Mason 2, Kathy Ostman 8, Chelsea Mason 2, Laura Ostman 6. Totals 23 5-10 54.
3-point goals — Winans, Overbye, Buffetta.