(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
DELTA -- Less than a week ago, the Oran Lady Eagles basketball team suffered a blistering 57-23 loss to the Delta Lady Bobcats during the Delta New Years tournament.
Slated to face each other again at the Scott-Mississippi Conference tournament on Wednesday, one would think there wouldn't be much of a difference in the outcome.
Oran thought differently.
The Lady Eagles forced an overtime game in the conference semifinal round, but eventually couldn't hold on to avenge their 34-point loss to the same Delta squad just four days ago losing 63-57.
"We found out a little something about our character," Oran head coach Adam Friga said. "We've got guts and we're not going to back down from anybody. I'm disappointed in the loss but, I'm proud of my kids."
Battling back from a six-point deficit at the end of the third quarter, the Lady Eagles (7-4) received a big lift from freshman Chrissy Sauceda. Sauceda scored all of her team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter as Oran outscored the Lady Bobcats 15-9 to push overtime.
"She did a good job," Friga said about Sauceda. "The great thing about our kids is that when they're out there all five of them will take the ball. That's a good thing to have."
Sauceda, with just 20 seconds remaining in regulation, gave the Lady Eagles a 51-49 lead.
Delta junior Tori Burton knotted the game just 10 seconds later, however, with a right-handed runner through the middle of the lane.
Oran, the third-seed, and Delta, the No. 2 seed, went into overtime deadlocked at 51 points apiece.
"Oran's a good ball club," Delta head coach Randy White said. "They scrapped from beginning to end. We'd get a lead and they kept coming back."
Sophomore Machela Van Gennip hit two free throws to break the tie in the extra quarter which was followed by a bucket by senior Rachel Bartels. Burton, again, came up big for Delta with a 3-pointer making it 58-53 with 1:40 left on the clock.
"Late, we hit some crucial shots," said White. "(Rachel Bartels) hit a big shot and we had another big 3-pointer made. Tori Burton had some big free throws down the stretch."
Oran's Haley Glastetter kept things interesting though. The senior picked off two passes as the Lady Bobcats (8-4) tried to run time off the clock pulling it to another one-point game with 36 seconds remaining.
"Haley's got a lot of guts -- as do all of my kids," Friga said. "They got after (Delta) and they weren't going to go down and just let them run the clock out."
Just as they did for most of the game, Delta got to the free throw line after Glastetter's second steal and basket to officially ice the 63-57 win in front of their home crowd.
The Lady Bobcats sank 5-of-6 free throws in the last 22 seconds. As a team throughout the contest, Delta was an unconscious 29-of-35 from the charity stripe.
"Free throws, I think, are more mental than anything," White said. "Once you get your shooting form down, if you have confidence when you step to the line I think you'll be a good free throw shooter."
Burton and Van Gennip combined for a total of 51 points -- Van Gennip had 26, Burton added 25 points which included 17 rebounds for the junior.
From the tip-off, it began to look like their previous game less than a week ago. Delta opened with a 9-2 lead but six unanswered from the Lady Eagles set the stage for the close contest.
The biggest difference in the game was a 10-point lead by Delta in the third quarter when Van Gennip made it 34-24.
Delta now moves to the championship game of the Scott-Mississippi Conference tournament where they will face the No. 1 seed Scott City Lady Rams tonight at 8:30 p.m. Oran will play the Kelly Lady Hawks in the third-place game at 5:30 p.m.
"We're on our home court and we're thrilled to get there," White said about the championship opportunity. "They have (Katie Hogan) but I think what's overlooked sometimes is they have a bunch of guards that don't miss a beat.
"Hopefully, we can do something with them."
ORAN (57) -- Abbey Anderson 7, Haley Glastetter 7, Cheyanne King 11, Halle Woodfin 10, Addie Kielhofner 7, Crissy Sauceda 12, Taylor Nenniger 3. FG 23, FT 7-10, F 23. (3-pointers: Nenninger 1, Kielhofner 1, Sauceda 2. Fouled out: Sauceda, Woodfin)
DELTA (63) -- Samantha Bartels 6, Rachel Bartels 6, Tori Burton 25, Machela Van Gennip 26. FG 16, FT 29-35, F 11. (3-pointers: S. Bartels 1, Burton 1. Fouled out: none)