Maidens overcome adversity to punch ticket to state

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  • RONAN HIGH School guard Lee Camel celebrates with Maidens' Coach Ron Hanson after their 64-55 victory in the Class-C Divisional Championship Saturday night at the Ronan Events Center. Camel sat on the sidelines for the majority of the game nursing an ankle injury. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    THE RONAN Maidens hoist the trophy after their 64-55 victory over Florence at the Western Class-C Divisional Championship Saturday night at the Ronan Events Center. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    RONAN HIGH SCHOOL Hannah Moss shots a jump shot in the Western Class-C Divisional Championship against Florence Saturday night at the Ronan Events Center. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    RONAN HIGH School Coach Ron Hanson discusses strategy with his team during a timeout in the Western-C Divisional Championship game against Florence Saturday at the Ronan Events Center. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

  • RONAN HIGH School guard Lee Camel celebrates with Maidens' Coach Ron Hanson after their 64-55 victory in the Class-C Divisional Championship Saturday night at the Ronan Events Center. Camel sat on the sidelines for the majority of the game nursing an ankle injury. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    THE RONAN Maidens hoist the trophy after their 64-55 victory over Florence at the Western Class-C Divisional Championship Saturday night at the Ronan Events Center. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    RONAN HIGH SCHOOL Hannah Moss shots a jump shot in the Western Class-C Divisional Championship against Florence Saturday night at the Ronan Events Center. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    RONAN HIGH School Coach Ron Hanson discusses strategy with his team during a timeout in the Western-C Divisional Championship game against Florence Saturday at the Ronan Events Center. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

Alicia Camel hurt her hand in the semifinals against Bigfork, and Lee Camel didnít play in the championship as she was hobbled with an injured ankle she hurt in the previous contest.

With those two injured, Micalann McCrea elevated her level of play to make up the difference. McCrea scored a total of 19 points in the 64-55 Divisional victory over Florence Saturday night at the Ronan Events Center.

In the absence of the two Camel cousins, another Camel emerged to also help the scoring deficiencies left by the two hurt players. Louetta Conko-Camel scored 12 against Florence.

Alicia Camel wasnít rendered ineffective and still contributed with her typical 19 points as the Maidens defeated Florence for the fourth consecutive time in a row to capture the championship crown.

Early in the game, the Maidens had trouble with the Lady Falconsí big two: Rilee Mangun and Danielle Zahn.

Both went on to score in double digits with Zahn finishing with 22 points and Mangun finished with 10.

Ronan struggled early but adjusted to lead at the conclusion of the first quarter 17-16. They later took a commanding 33-23 halftime lead.

The Maidens remained consistent in scoring by manufacturing 16 and 15 points in the third and fourth quarters. The consistency was enough to hold off the Lady Falconsí third quarter surge in which they were able to score 19 points.

The Maidens faced their most difficult challenge in the semifinal match against Bigfork. The Maidens suffered injuries from their two leading contributors, Lee and Alicia Camel, in this game.

McCrea again was a major offensive contributor and converted a three-point play down the stretch after Alicia Camel missed back-to-back free throws. That is when Lee Camel rebounded the ball and passed it to McCrea, who made the shot and was fouled to secure their lead.

Despite later hobbling with what appeared to be a turned ankle, Lee Camel led the Maidens offensive attack with 27 of the teamís 65 total points.

Ronan struggled to contain the Valkyries big three: Halle Norred who finished with 15, Abby Ellison finished with 14, and Jaime Berg led the team with 17 in a close contest.

The Maidens made quick work of their first round opponent in Divisionals as they defeated Libby 47-24.

With the victory, Ronan not only maintained its unblemished record and 23-game win streak, but they will also face the No. 3 seeded team from the south at 1:30 Thursday at the MetraPark/Billings Skyview Arena.

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