(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- When Dexter's leading scorer Katelyn Heil fouled out of Monday's contest with 18 seconds remaining in a 49-49 game with Notre Dame, it looked like the Lady Bulldogs would keep their mental edge over the Lady Bearcats.
Especially after Notre Dame freshman Allyson Bradshaw hit a game-tying shot with 1 second remaining in regulation.
However, Dexter used contributions from numerous players in overtime and claimed the first victory for the program at Notre Dame 63-56, improving their SEMO Conference record to 5-0 in the process.
"We knew we really had to step up," said Dexter guard Jill Temples. "We weren't playing very well, we weren't making good decisions and we knew this was our time and we had to do it or we were going to lose."
pointer from sophomore Abbie Warren, just her second of the season.
"It's pretty crazy," Warren said. "I was just feeling it, so I shot it and hoped for the best."
A short time later, Temples ripped her own missed free throw away from a Notre Dame defender and scored to seal the game for the Lady Bearcats.
"We knew we were going to have step up and some other people were going to have to hit some big shots because Katelyn is usually the one that does that," Temples said. "So we all got together and we decided that we were all going to have to step up."
The Lady Bearcat defense forced a total of 38 turnovers in the game, including 21 in the first half.
"It was a battle," said Notre Dame coach Renee Peters. "I can't believe the physical nature of this game. I thought we could have done a lot of things better. They took us out of our game a little bit and we were making some really silly mistakes, breaking the press."
However Dexter's inability to convert from the free throw line allowed Notre Dame to keep the game close. The Lady Bearcats were 17-41 from the charity stripe in the game while Notre Dame was 21-29.
"We've been doing a great job with free throws all year but we definitely had a letdown today," Allen said. "The girls had a lot of heart, didn't keep their heads down and kept playing hard and it was a great victory."
Dexter jumped out to an early lead on Notre Dame and built their largest lead at 26-14 after a Heil 3-pointer with 3:15 left in the first half. But Notre Dame rallied to cut the lead to 27-26 at the half.
The game went back and forth for most of the second half but seemed to be in Dexter's hands after Heil put the Lady Bearcats up 43-38 on a acrobatic scoop shot. However, Notre Dame put together an 11-2 run, helped by a technical on Heil, given while she and a Lady Bulldog wrestled for the ball.
Trailing 49-45, Dexter turned up the defensive pressure, forcing several Notre Dame turnovers. Those turnovers turned into three Heil free throws to draw the Lady Bearcats to within one, 49-48. A Sammy Waldner free throw later tied the game at 49 before Heil fouled out.
Waldner put Dexter ahead 51-49 with nine seconds remaining, leading to Bradshaw's buzzer-beater for Notre Dame.
"We needed a game like this," Allen said. "A close game, an overtime game and games like this are definitely good for us."
Allen said the girls had never won at Notre Dame and that was sitting in the back of their minds.
"I think it gets rid of our mental block," Heil said. "I think it gets rid of our jitters we had before those games. Hopefully in districts we won't have that."
Heil finished the game with a game-high 22 points to go along with her seven rebounds. Junior Ashlee Taylor chipped in with 15 points, seven steals and four rebounds.
"We wanted (to win this game) bad," Heil said "We'd been talking about it all week. This is our year and we decided this is our game."
Bradshaw led Notre Dame (14-7) with 16 points while Alex Fowler added 10.
Dexter and Notre Dame likely will be the top seeds in the upcoming Class 4, District 1 Tournament at Perryville. The seeding meeting will be held Saturday.
"This is kind of a litmus test for us tonight," Peters said. "This is the first time we've played Dexter this year, so it was a good starting point. Now we've got a couple weeks until districts to get prepared."