(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
ORAN -- Capped by Cheyanne King's 3-point buzzer beater to force overtime, the Oran Lady Eagles mounted an 11-point fourth quarter comeback against Lesterville Monday night in the Class 2, District 3 semifinals.
Coming up empty-handed in their first three possessions of the extra frame, however, the Lady Eagles watched the Lady Bearcats jump out to a four-point lead before pulling away to a 75-64 final.
"Our kids gutted it out," Oran coach Adam Friga said. "They gave it everything they had. We came up a little short, but we didn't quit."
Entering the third quarter down by one at 29-28 after Lesterville's Taylor Cook hit a 3-pointer to the end first half, Oran quickly found itself in a hole to start the second half.
Led by Ashlyn Woods 12 points in the frame, the Lady Bearcats opened the third on a 10-2 run before pulling ahead by 13 with 14 seconds left in the quarter.
A basket by King with two seconds left in the frame cut the Lady Eagles' deficit to 11 as they entered the fourth down 53-42.
Taking advantage of turnovers on Lesterville's first two possessions of the quarter, both steals by Addie Kielhofner, Oran got buckets from Taylor Nenninger and Kielhofner to quickly close to within seven with 6:42 to play in regulation.
It was after Oran had closed back to within one that the Lady Eagles, forced to foul, saw Lesterville hit two straight free throws with 10.5 seconds to force Oran into a last shot situation.
Bringing the ball up the court before calling a timeout, Oran's Haley Glastetter inbounded to King with 7.6 seconds left. Working to the top of the arc, King put up a shot that banked off the backboard before dropping in at the buzzer.
"We ran a little play were we had three options," Friga said. "We didn't want to have one option. (King) just had to come off the screen, make a read and take what they gave her.
"She felt like she was open and she executed on it."
Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, a slow start to the extra period put Oran back in a hole that, this time, they wouldn't escape from.
Getting two early baskets from Cook and Woods to take a four-point lead, Lesterville was able to hold Oran scoreless most of overtime, pulling ahead by seven at 68-61 with 1:10 to play.
Forced to foul, the Lady Eagles watched the Lady Bearcats hit 7 of 8 free throws in the final minute to secure the win. Oran's only basket in overtime came when Glastetter hit a 3-pointer from the right side of the arc with 26 seconds left to close her team within eight at the time.
"I felt as soon as we got into overtime we took control back immediately," Lesterville coach Melissa St. Gemme said. "I have three seniors out there and I guess they decided they didn't want it to be done.
"Our free throwing shooting pulled it out in the end and I was happy to at least see that."
Led by Cook's 26 points, the Lady Bearcats also got big nights from Nichol and Wood who scored 21 and 20 points respectively.
"We just didn't come to play," said St. Gemme. "I don't know. We've had a problem all year of just wanting to win so bad that we messed ourselves up because we're trying to so hard to win.
"Our third quarter we got up 13 at one time. Then we came back out (in the fourth) and I guess we got comfortable and just let them right back in."
In her last game as a Lady Eagle, King led Oran with 22 points while fellow seniors Glastetter and Woodfin added 16 and 14 points to the cause.
Lesterville will now play Meadow Heights in the championship game Thursday at 6 p.m.
ORAN (64) -- Taylor Nenninger 2, Haley Glastetter 16, Addie Kielhofner 10, Cheyanne King 22, Halle Woodfin 14. FG 28, FT 4-12, F 23. (3-pointers: Kielhofner 2, Glastetter 1, King 1. Fouled out: Woodfin, Sauceda).
LESTERVILLE (75) -- Taylor Cook 26, Ashlyn Woods 20, Katie Dowler 4, RayVen Nichols 21, Rochelle Thomas 4. FG 23, FT 22-29, F 14. (3-pointers: Woods 3, Nichols 3, Cook 1. Fouled out: none).
Led by Whitney Welker's 25 points, Meadow Heights defeated Greenville 67-38 Monday night in the Class 2, District 3 semifinals.
Jumping out to a 13-point lead entering the second, the Lady Panthers added another 21 points to their lead in the next two quarter to head into the fourth up 48-24.
Behind Welker, Erin Bollman finished the game with 15 points while Gina Cureton added another eight points to Meadow Height's cause.
For the Lady Bears, Andrea Becker's 23 points were easily a team-high as Bailey White was Bailey White was Greenville's second leading scorer with nine.
GREENVILLE (38) -- Sarah Hillis 2, Bailey White 9, Tori Porter 4, Andrea Becker 23. FG 17, FT 3-6, F 19. (3-pointers: White 1. Fouled out: Porter).
MEADOW HEIGHTS (67) -- Mica Morse 2, Hattie Cook 3, Gina Cureton 8, Erin Bollman 15, Heather Dietiker 3, Jessica Baremore 1, Whitney Welker 25, Taylor Cureton 6, Jillian Mills 4. FG 25, FT 15-22, F 14. (3-pointers: Morse 1, Dietiker 1. Fouled out: none).