May 26 • 04:15 AM

Almont bows out in OT

Flint Powers hands Raiders first loss, 72-65

March 05, 2008
ALMONT — Four-teenth-rated Almont gave sixth-ranked Flint Powers all it wanted and then some, before dropping a 72-65 overtime verdict in a Class B girls' regional semifinal basketball game last night at Goodrich High School.

With the decision, Flint Powers (21-2) advances to Thursday's championship contest where it will face Williamston. That matchup lists a 7 p.m. starting time. Almont watches an outstanding 23-1 season reach an endpoint.

Almont’s Angela Davis (L) and Chelsea Bijansky (R) are on the edge of their seats watching the final seconds of regulation play in last week’s Class B regional battle versus Flint Powers. photo by Kevin Kissane.

"I think they may have underestimated us," Almont Coach Steve Edwards said. "As the game went on they became aware that our team had what it took to play with them," he emphasized.

"We had a three-point lead with about three minutes left during regulation, lost it and came back to force overtime. It was back and forth all the way and Powers was able to pull the win out."

"It was a great game to watch. Both sides left it all out on the floor."

In Tuesday's battle, Almont reached the scoreboard first.

That happened when Chanahl Putnam took a pass off the opening tipoff, drove the lane and made a layup with nine seconds elapsed.

Putnam was also fouled on the play. Her attempt from the line was true, staking Almont to a 3-0 lead at the time.

It would prove the quick start Almont had hoped for.

"We wanted to be aggressive from the opening tipoff and Chanahl took it strong to the basket," he noted.

Just 5:33 later, though, Almont's fortunes would take a turn for the worse.

It was there Brandy Ullom, who has signed with Madonna University, collided with Flint Powers counterpart Brianca Adams on a drive to the basket.

Ullom bore the brunt of the hit and fell to the floor immediately, clutching her left knee. The referees moved in quickly to check her physical status and it soon became obvious that the chances of her returning to action was not good.

Not too long thereafter, Goodrich school officials called for an ambulance to attend to the fallen player. She could not be moved from the spot, so there she sat while being comforted by her coaches, parents and others.

About 30 minutes later, ambulance workers arrived on the scene to transport Ullom to a nearby hospital. She left to an ovation by both rooting sections.

The officials then allowed Flint Powers and Almont three minutes to warm up again.

At the time of the action stoppage, Flint Powers owned a 14-8 lead.

When the action resumed, Flint Powers put together a 6-4 run over the next two minutes-plus of play.

That flurry staked Flint Powers to a 20-12 cushion at quarter's end.

Down but not out, Almont bounced back with a 22-15 second quarter advantage.

That trimmed their deficit to 35-34 at the halftime break.

The third quarter would see things continue to stay close.

It was there Flint Powers netted 10 points and Almont generated nine.

That left Flint Powers clinging to a 45-43 lead at the 24-minute mark.

Almont then came out strong to start the fourth quarter, going on a 13-8 run to go ahead 56-53 with 2:49 to play.

It looked as if Almont was poised to spring an upset many thought impossible.

Instead, Flint Powers responded to the considerable challenge presented them with a 6-0 run.

That made it 59-56, Flint Powers, with 1:19 remaining. There was no question now it would go down to the wire.

With nine seconds remaining during regulation play, Almont inbounded the basketball with hopes of extending the contest a bit longer.

Second by second, the clock wound down.

Then, with time running out, Almont got the ball into the hands of Lindsey Yaklin. She dribbled the ball a few times, spotted up and launched an attempt from trifecta territory, despite being sandwiched between a pair of Flint Powers defenders.

Her shot fell through the twines as time expired, knotting the scoreboard count at 59-all. It was on to overtime to determine a victor.

Yaklin said the play did not go exactly as planned, but she isn't about to argue with the way it ended.

"We had just called a timeout before and it was suppose to go to either Nikki Heim or myself but we both were covered pretty well," Yaklin recalled. "They got the ball to me and I knew there was not a lot of time remaining," she noted.

"I found a spot between their defenders and just shot the ball. The attempt looked good the moment it left my hands. It was definitely the biggest shot I have ever hit."

And her teammates showed their appreciation by rushing the court to congratulate Yaklin. Their hopes of obtaining a postseason win were still alive.

In the extra session, Almont struck first.

That happened when Tasha Evans connected on a two-pointer with 3:36 to play, giving Almont a 63-61 lead.

The next 1:42 stretch saw Flint Powers hit for five points, while allowing Almont one.

That made it 66-64, Flint Powers, with 1:54 remaining.

Flint Powers followed it up with a 6-1 run the rest of the way, assuring themselves of a 72-65 win when the final buzzer sounded.

Liza Flewelling led Flint Powers with 17 points, including a trifecta. Stephanie Kelly (14 points, featuring a pair of treys) and Kassie Contos (14) made their presence felt as well.

Yaklin (22 points, featuring seven treys), Putnam (20, with two triples) and Heim (15, including three trifectas) proved Almont's toughest players to contain. The remaining Raider points went to Jolie Wycinski (four) along with Megan May and Evans (two each).

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Milnes Ford
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