TRAVERSE CITY — A grade A defensive effort led to Gaylord's first girls basketball Class A district title in school history on Friday.
The Blue Devils earned the crown with a 31-26 overtime victory over host Traverse City West, holding the Titans to three points in the game's final 8:54.
Despite giving up a lot of size to West's front line, Gaylord was able to stymie the Titans for stretches and capitalize at the right time, outscoring West 5-0 in overtime.
"We haven't won districts in I don't even know how long," said senior guard Mackenzie Edwards, who led the Devils with 15 points. "I never thought we'd make it this far and we did. I'm really excited."
The Blue Devils (13-9) face undefeated Grand Haven in regionals Tuesday back at TC West. The Bucs are the reigning Class A state champions, and defeated Muskegon 52-33 to win their district.
"We're playing on house money," Blue Devils coach Frank Hamilla said. "We won our district and now we're going to go and give it all we've got in regionals and see what happens."
West's Kiley Kreple knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
"We thought that they thought that we would not go to her," Titans coach Dave Ginsberg said. "So we said, 'Find her, lob the ball over to her.'"
Kreple received the long, cross-court inbounds pass, looked down to make sure her feet were behind the 3-point line and launched a triple that caught nothing but net and sent the game into an extra session.
"We just had to forget about it and go on to overtime," said Edwards, who has accepted an offer to play at Lake Superior State University. "And we got the job done."