Maverick girls rally foiled by answered prayer
The Eastern Tech girls basketball team was seconds away from completing an stirring victory over visiting Perry Hall on Senior Night, a thrilling tale complete with lategame heroics and a rally from a ninepoint deficit in the fourth quarter. Then the Gators rewrote the script. Casey Bender’s off-balance threepointer with less than four seconds remaining led to a Gator pile-up at mid-court as Perry Hall escaped with a 47-46 win.
Time expired before Eastern Tech could inbound the ball and attempt a final shot.
“What a great shot,” Eastern Tech coach Jim Stromberg said. “A shot that kid will remember for a long, long time.
“We made a nice comeback, and it’s hard to lose that way, but if a kid has to make that kind of shot to beat us, good for them.”
“Trailing 36-27 with five minutes remaining in the game, the Mavericks faced a daunting task: they trailed by more points than they had averaged in the three previous quarters (eight).
But two three-pointers by Destiny Franklin sparked a 10-2 run that pulled Eastern Tech to within 38-37 with 3:11 remaining in the game.
Perry Hall still led 42-39 with 1:43 left to play. But a layup by Franklin and a three-point play by Sequoia Rankin put the Mavericks in the lead for the first time since the opening seconds of the second quarter, 4442
yo Ogunbiyi added two free throws and the Mavericks seemed to have the game in hand, leading 46-42 with 25 seconds remaining and having held the Gators to no field goals over the previous four minutes. Bender missed a three-point at
tempt, but Perry Hall’s Jessica Auvil grabbed the rebound and scored on a layup to make it a two-point game with 10 seconds left to play.
The Mavericks had an opportunity to put the game away, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. On the inbounds play, Bender caught a long pass just outside the three-point line, turned and flung up a one-handed prayer that seemed o be off-target. It wasn’t. On the missed free throw, Eastern Tech had grabbed the rebound, but the officials ruled the ball had not touched the rim and possession was awarded to Perry Hall.
Stromberg felt the ball had touched the rim, but “when you miss 14 foul shots, you’re often not going to win,” he said.
“When we were up by four, I told the players we have got to make the free throws. We have to step up there with confidence and knock it down.”
Eastern Tech (10-8) had led 10-9 in the opening minute of the second quarter after a basket by Emily Wassenius, but the Gators used a 7-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 16-10 lead and led 21-15 at halftime.
It was 34-25, Perry Hall, entering the fourth quarter. The Mavericks almost matched that total in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 points.
“We played a little bit harder,” Stromberg said. “We made some shots, didn’t turn the ball over as much. And our defense was a lot better in the second half.”
Eastern Tech’s Destiny Franklin during the one-point loss to Perry Hall last week.