HIBBING — Kourtney Manning’s timing couldn’t have been better.
The Hibbing High School senior went for a rebound on a missed free throw, pulled it down, then put up a shot that hit nothing but net as she was being fouled.
Manning calmly hit the free throw with 15.8 seconds to play to give the Bluejackets a one-point lead, then Hibbing got through a tense 7.6 seconds en route to a 54-53 victory over Grand Rapids Tuesday at the high school gymnasium.
Grand Rapids had a 53-51 lead when Fanci Williams was fouled with 18.5 seconds to play.
The junior missed the first charity toss, then the second bounced off of the rim.
That’s when Manning went to work.
“He told us to crash so I was like, ‘OK,’” Manning said. “I saw it bounce off the rim, and the other girls jumped early. I jumped after them, and I knew I had to put it up right away. That’s what I did.
“It just happened. I just jumped. I knew that if I didn’t, they would have been able to block me. It went in. It felt great.”
The Thunderhawks put the ball in play, then called timeout with 7.6 seconds on the clock.
Grand Rapids inbounded the ball, to Taryn Hamling, but she fell near mid court. The Thunderhawks had to rush a shot, that ended up out-of-bounds, but ball belonged to them with .2 seconds showing on the clock.
Hamling caught the inbounds pass and put up a shot that hit the back rim and fell out to give the Bluejackets the victory.
Hibbing did have a 25-21 lead at the half, then the Bluejackets seven-point lead early in the second half.
That lead was six with 10:43 to play, but Grand Rapids went on a 10-0 run to make it 44-40.
Fortunately for LaCoe, his team didn’t crumble under the Thunderhawks’ run.
Haley Hawkinson hit a 3-pointer to make it 44-43, but Hamling basket made it 46-43.
Reese Aune hit a 3-pointer and a free throw to give Hibbing 47-46 lead, but Hamling hit a three to make it 49-47.
Hawkinson tied it with a basket, then she made two free throws to give Hibbing a 51-49 lead.
Hamling hit a 3-pointer and it was 52-51, then Mya Roberts made a free throw to make it 53-51.
That set the stage for Manning’s heroics as the Bluejackets split the season series with the Thunderhawks.
Hawkinson had 17 points, Manning 14 and Williams 11.
Hamling finished with 31.
GR 21 32 — 53
HHS 25 29 — 54
Grand Rapids: Mya Roberts 9, Anika Kaldahl 2, Taryn Hamling 31, Jenny Bowman 2, Maddi McKinney 5, Katie Jamtgaard 4.
Hibbing: Reese Aune 4, Fanci Williams 11, Jacie Clusiau 4, Haley Hawkinson 17, Kourtney Manning 14, Nora Petrich 4.
Total Fouls: Grand Rapids 16; Hibbing 17; Fouled Out: Bowman; Free Throws: Grand Rapids 10-18; Hibbing 12-16; 3-pointers: Hamling 5, Aune, Hawkinson, Manning 2.
Duluth Denfeld 64
DULUTH — Ayden McDonald hit for 30 points as the Bluejackets beat the Hunters on the road Tuesday.
Mayson Brown had 24 and Tre Holmes 22 for Hibbing, which only led by 15 points with about six minutes to play.
Josh Reinertson had 31 for Denfeld. Armon Freeman finished with 19.
HHS 42 49 — 91
DD 26 38 — 64
Hibbing: Hayden Verhel 6, Mayson Brown 24, Tre Holmes 22, Amari Manning 2, Joe Paver 2, Eli Erickson 5, Ayden McDonald 30.
Duluth Denfeld: Armon Freeman 19, Josh Reinertson 31, Carter Kilroy 3, Jon Bongiovanni 2, Nine Franklin 9.
Total Fouls: Hibbing 10; Duluth Denfeld 11; Fouled Out: None; Free Throws: Hibbing 8-11; Duluth Denfeld 7-14; 3-pointers: Brown 5, Holmes 6, McDonald 4, Freeman, Reinertson 5, Kilroy.