Victories are not coming easy or often for the Jim Thorpe and Weatherly girls' basketball teams this season, but both schools put it all out on the hardwood last night with Thorpe coming away with a 76-72 triumph in overtime.
It wasn't until Alexis Naranjo sank the back end of two foul shots with 4.3 seconds to go in the extra session that the Olympians had secured a furious comeback win. Naranjo had a stellar night, scoring a game and career high 27 points including 10 of her team's 12 second quarter points.
The Lady Wreckers came off the opening tip with high energy. With balanced first quarter scoring, they found holes down low in Thorpe's 1-3-1 zone and also scored on put backs of several offensive rebounds. The Wreckers kept up their fierce pace in the second quarter. Jessica Polchin's three-pointer at the 3:50 mark increased Weatherly's lead to 19 points.
"I called three time outs to try to slow them down," said JT coach, Rob Kovac. "It was obvious that we didn't come to play early on. We were being embarrassed and it was time to draw a line in the sand."
In the final 3:00 of the second quarter, the teams scored ten points apiece, but Weatherly still led by 14 at the break.
"We played some great basketball in the first half," said Weatherly coach, Will Frantz. "Our defensive goal was to shut down Condly, and Ennis from the outside and we did just that."
"I told our kids at the half to go out and win the third quarter so we can have at least a chance going into the fourth," said Kovac.
After the Wreckers' Kelly Parker's full court drive and layup increased the Wrecker margin to 15 points, the Olympians started to heat up. Nikki Ennis nailed two treys to chip away at the lead before Cat Condly's bucket at 4:07 cut Weatherly's lead to nine. With a little over a minute left, Alyssa Rubarsky hit a turnaround jumper to draw the Olympians to within five at 45-40.
"We started to get fatigued," said Frantz. "We were getting caught in transition and we turned the ball over too much."
In the fourth quarter, Naranjo's put back tied the score at 49. Her teammate, Rebecca Cressman , who scored all of her nine points in the fourth and in OT, gave Thorpe its first lead of the game on a three-point play with 1:20 to go. But Weatherly's Alexis Hartz drilled a three-pointer 15 seconds later to put the Wreckers up by one. Condly's lay up and free throw with 50 seconds left gave a two point edge back to Thorpe, but Courtney Lovett's basket tied it 10 seconds later to send the game into overtime.
The Olympians then sank six free throws and a lay up off a steal by Condly to pull away, but Tea Heister's running one hander down the lane pulled the Wreckers to within three before Naranjo was able to ice the game for Jim Thorpe.
"I like the pressure of a close game, "said Naranjo, who made three of four free throws in OT. "especially when I'm at the foul line and the home crowd is yelling for me to miss."
"They made some great individual plays at the end," said Frantz. "We just ran out of gas and we missed too many free throws, which has actually been our strength. There will be no yelling at our team, though. They put out a great effort tonight."
"We had some kids really step up besides Alexis," said Kovac. "I thought Condly gave us some of her best minutes of the season tonight and Cressman grew up as a basketball player down the stretch in a pressure situation."
Condly was second in scoring for JT with 18 points, while Weatherly was paced by Polchin with 16 and Parker, who finished the night with 14 points.
Condly 7-4-7-18, Ennis 4-0-0-11, Naranjo 10-7-10-27, Rusbarsky 2-3-5-7, Cressman 3-3-6-9, Bush 1-0-0-2, Becker 1-0-2-2. TOTALS:28-17-30-76.
Hester 3-0-0-6, Adamczyk 2-1-2-6, Parker 6-2-3-14, Lovett 6-0-5-12, Polchin 4-7-7-16, Berger 0-0-0-0, A. Hartz 3-4-5-10, Gillot 0-0-0-0, Wallish 3-2-4-8. TOTALS:27-13-24-72.
Jim Thorpe 11 12 18 24 11 - 76
Weatherly 15 22 10 18 7 - 72
Three-pointers: Jim Thorpe - Ennis 3; Weatherly - Adamczyk 1, Polchin 1, A. Hartz 1.