By Gerry Steele
Triangle Lake's bid for the third-place trophy at the Class 1A state girls basketball tournament came up five seconds short Saturday.
Trailing 46-45 with 5.2 seconds left in the game, Triangle Lake couldn't get the ball upcourt quickly enough and dropped the game to St. Paul by the same score in the Baker High School gym.
Trailing 45-39 with a minute remaining Triangle Lake sandwiched three-point baskets from Natalie Verdoes and Kiana Brown around a St. Paul free throw to pull within 46-45 with 17.6 seconds remaining.
St. Paul then missed a pair of free throws with nine seconds left only to have Triangle Lake turn the ball over with seven seconds remaining.
Then, after St. Paul missed two more free throws with 5.2 seconds left, the Lakers couldn't get a final shot.
The game was close all the way, with nine ties and six lead changes.
The first quarter was a dual between Brown and St. Paul's Remy Brentano.
Brown scored six points, and Brentano seven as the period ended deadlocked at 13-all.
Brown then scored 12 points in the second quarter as Triangle Lake built a 29-24 halftime edge.
Then, led by four points from Sara Pierson, St. Paul outscored the Lakers 10-3 in the third period to take a 34-32 lead.
The Buckaroos kept their lead the entire fourth quarter.
Brentano led St. Paul with 17 points. Pierson added 12.
Brown, the state's all-time leading girls basketball scorer, ended her high school career with 30 points and 10 rebounds.
ST. PAUL (46)
Pierson 4 4-7 12, Wilmes 3 2-4 8, Stone 1 0-2 2, Merten 2 0-4 4, Brentano 4 7-12 17, Hernandez 1 1-2 3, Ruvacalba. Totals 15 14-31 46.
TRIANGLE LAKE (45) -
Verdoes 3 0-0-7, West, E. Brown, K. Brown 6 13-14 30, Bottensek 1 3-4 5, Steinhauer 0 2-2 2, Welsh 0 1-2 1. Totals 10 19-22 45.
St. Paul -13 11 10 12 - 46
Triangle Lake -13 16 3 13 - 45
Three-point baskets - Brentano 2, Verdoes, K. Brown 5. Fouled out - none. Total fouls - St. Paul 17, Triangle Lake 24. Technicals - none.