By JOHN VRANCIC
For the Daily News
HERMANSVILLE - Mariah Dunham has become used to taking a leadership role in the Gold Medal Basketball Classic tournament.
Keith Shelton/Daily Press Photo
Lexi Gussert dribbles up court for Crystal Falls McNeil’s Oilers Saturday evening at Hermansville.
That was evident again Sunday as she sank a pair of free throws with 1.4 seconds left to play, lifting Team 10 past Crystal Falls McNeil's Oilers 51-50 in the women's championship game of the 76th annual tourney.
Dunham, selected the Outstanding Player for at least the third straight time, finished with 28 points. Christa Erickson added 10.
"One of my teammates set up a screen and Christa made a great (inbound) pass," said Dunham, who recently completed her first season as women's assistant coach at Lake Superior State University. "Before the last two free throws, I was overthinking and missed a few. That was just a great game. I enjoy the tight games. I'd rather play in a game like this than in a 20-point game."
McNeil's was able to get the ball into the hands of Lexi Gussert in time for a buzzer-beating shot. The Michigan State recruit, however, missed from inside the free throw line.
"They're a great team," said Dunham. "Picking up Lexi certainly helped them. She's a great player. Playing at MSU is going to be great for her and the community."
Team 10 led most of the way. McNeil's, however, took a 50-49 lead with 12 seconds left to play when Alicia Schneider got away from a pair of defenders with a spin move in the lane and hit a layup, setting the stage for Dunham's game-winner gifters.
"It got kind of scary in the end," said Dunham. "They tightened their defense and we got rattled a little. Fortunately, we were able to overcome that."
Leach led McNeil's with 22 and Gussert had 17.
In Sunday's semifinals, Dunham hit 35 points as Team 10 whipped the Stephenson Stollers 68-35.
Gussert scored 28 and Schneider added 15 as McNeil's rolled past Florence Auto Parts/Norway Auto Parts 81-53. Rachel Conery led FAP/NAP with 12. Megan Kangas had 10.
McNeil's opened with a 67-46 triumph over Hermansville PLD Warehousing Saturday night. Gussert hit 23 points and Schneider had 21. Emily Prose had 15 for PLD.
Abby Bieber scored 19 points as the Strollers topped Niagara, Wis. Uptown 40-35 in another quarterfinal. Brittany Pipkorn had 15 for Niagara.
Vintage Hannahville was crowned Class EE men's champion Saturday night, following an 81-70 conquest of Carney Juice Promotions.
Seth Williams paced Hannahville with 16 points. Keenan Lampinen, the Outstanding Player in Class EE, hit 33 points. Lucas Moreau added 17.
Gladstone captured the junior high boys' crown Sunday in a 49-35 triumph over Bark River-Harris after eliminating Norway 25-22 in the semifinals.
BR-H beat Carney-Nadeau 58-30 in the round-robin event. Norway topped Carney 59-33 and North Central, which romped past Wallace Jim's Plumbing 78-30 in its opener.