Kiarra Otto had just made a 3-pointer to give the Laconia High School girls’ basketball team a 39-38 lead over Marshall with a little less than 12 minutes left in the Division 3 state championship game.

   Marshall, the defending state champion, came down and missed a shot, but grabbed the rebound and kicked it out for a 3-pointer that sparked a 10-2 Cardinal run.

   That was the play of the game for Laconia head coach Chris Morgan, whose team fell to the Cardinals 64-56 last week Saturday at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

   “After that, we just couldn’t quite make another run at it,” Morgan said. “We were close, we kept coming, but we couldn’t seem to get over that four-point deficit ever. We certainly had our chances. They just probably made a couple more plays than we did.”

   Despite falling short in the championship game, he noted that it takes nothing away from the season that his girls enjoyed — a season in which they won their first 27 games before the loss to Marshall.

   “Obviously, we were looking for the gold ball, but to bring home the silver ball is special because we were one of two teams that were left in the state going into the championship games out of probably 70-some, 80-some teams in Division 3,” Morgan said. “There’s only one team that can come out of there the winner and we just fell on the losing end of it ... The fact that we were right there in the game, and just came up a little bit short was a huge accomplishment.”
Laconia, which was led by a group of seven seniors, was within striking distance the entire game. Its largest deficit — nine points —only came in the final minutes.

   The squad also led by a point on a couple of occasions in the first half, as well as after Otto’s 3-pointer in the second that capped off a 7-0 run, but Marshall always had an answer on the other end.

Read the full story, which includes information about Laconia's 67-53 win over Freedom in the semifinals, in the March 14, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.