After trailing the entire game Gardiner used a 15-7 run to get within striking distance. With just under two minutes left senior Taylor Takutsu stepped to free throw line trailing 55-48. She split the pair for the closest the undefeated Tigers had been since the end of the first quarter, but that was the closest they’d be as the Bulldogs pulled off the 61-54 upset.
In a battle of one and two in Class A both the Gardiner Tigers and Lawrence Bulldogs were led by two senior stars. Battling for a spot in the state championship Hope Bouchard and Elizabeth Gruber finished tied with a game-high 26 points. However, the depth of Lawrence was able to do more to deliver the upset in the third meeting of the top teams. Brianna Poulin added 15 points and Alicen Higgins added nine.
Lawrence jumped out to an 11-2 lead and were up 19-12 after the opening frame with Bouchard and Poulin scoring every point. The Bulldogs built a 14-point lead with just under six minutes left before the Tigers finally mounted their own run. However, Bouchard was able to close it out from the free throw line going 9-10 in the fourth quarter on a 12-14 night. Lawrence finished 25-30 on the night from the charity stripe to Gardiner’s 13-17, though 15-18 was in the fourth quarter as the Tigers fouled to change possession.
Gruber continued her playoff stat-stuffing with 26 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks an assist and a steal along with a combined 48 points, 30 rebounds, 11 blocks and seven assists from the first two games. Mckenna Johnson had eleven and Savannah Brown had nine, but the rest of the team only added eight more points. Their starters were outscored 55-52 and the bench was outscored 6-2.
Lawrence will play Brunswick in the state championship Friday at 6.