SAULT STE. MARIE -- Ontonagon held off a late charge by Johannesburg-Lewiston to secure a 50-47 victory Tuesday in the Class D quarterfinals.
The Cardinals, spurred by senior center Mary Schlicher's 16 fourth-quarter points, rallied from a 38-25 deficit to pull within two points several times in the final minutes but could never get the lead.
Johannesburg, seeking a second straight berth in the Final Four, finishes with a 23-3 record while the Gladiators improved to 24-2 and advanced to the semifinals for the second straight time.
Ontonagon's Janele Linna was held to eight points through the first three quarters but made 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch to enable the Gladiators to maintain a slim advantage.
Junior guard Allison Burley scored following an offensive rebound to cut Ontonagon's lead to two points, 47-45, with 24 seconds left. Linna was quickly fouled on the ensuing possession and made one of two free throws to push the Gladiator lead to 50-47 with 20 seconds remaining.
Stephanie Fisher and Schlicher both took 3-point shots in the final seconds but neither could connect. Schlicher's final shot danced around the rim before falling out as the buzzer sounded.
"To come back like we did after being down by 13 shows the kind of characters these girls have," said Johannesburg coach Heather Huff. "They're the kind of girls who never quit, who never give up. I asked the girls to leave everything on the floor and they did.
"I kept waiting for that one steal, that one possession that would turn it around but it never came," she added. "They believed they could do it and I believed they could do it but give Ontonagon credit. They played great defense."
Schlicher scored a game-high 30 points. Fisher was held to five points. Abby Schlicher had a strong defensive game.
Linna paced Ontonagon with 16 points.
St. Ignace 45
McBain saw its season end with a 45-39 quarterfinal loss to St. Ignace.
McBain finished 17-8.
St. Ignace plays Niles Brandywine in the semifinals.