LAUREL — The fire alarms were a dead giveaway. Or, actually, more of a precursor Thursday of what was to come on semifinal night at the Southern C girls basketball tournament.
The first semifinal between Plenty Coups and Wibaux was delayed for more than an hour after local firefighters twice evacuated the Laurel High School gymnasium after a fire alarm sounded twice minutes before tipoff. The 6 p.m. game didn’t start until after 7, which is when the drama really picked up.
The Warriors and Longhorns took their contest right down to the wire before Wibaux survived with a 60-57 win and a berth into Saturday’s divisional championship. The game was tied 10 times with nine lead changes.
Both teams opened hot with Plenty Coups jumping out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter before Wibaux answered for a 20-19 lead after one. The halftime score was 32-32.
Wibaux opened a nine-point lead after three quarters and increased it to 12 in the fourth. That’s when the Warriors kicked a rally into gear. Plenty Coups drew to within 58-57 with 10 seconds left. A pair of Wibaux free throws increased the lead to 60-57.
Sylvie Stewart, whose 18 points tied for Thursday’s game high, had a good look at the basket on Plenty Coups’ final possession but her layup rolled around the rim before falling away. Stewart also led everybody with 11 rebounds. Kodi Big Lake added 13 points for the Warriors.
Layni and Marni Schieffer led Wibaux’s offense with 18 and 15 points, respectively. Marni also had 10 rebounds.
Wibaux will play Thursday’s Ekalaka in Saturday’s 6 p.m. championship. Plenty Coups plays a 2:30 p.m. loser-out game against Melstone. Only two teams advance to state from the Southern C divisional.