LINCOLN – It was a barn burner at Lincoln Southwest on Thursday, as a last second three pointer rolled out of the rim to decide the game.
A strong defensive performance propelled #5 North Central to take a lead in the first half, with Skylar Cosgrove and Miah Wieblhaus providing a bulk of the offensive production, scoring a combined 18 points.
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family found a consistent offensive answer in Taya Beller and Allie Schneider, who scored 8 points in the 1st Quarter but sat a portion of the 2nd Quarter due to foul trouble. Ali Schneider scored 10 in the first half.
The Bulldogs trailed the Knights in double digits before making a comeback and bringing the deficit back to 2 points before the end of first half of play, 30-32.
The two teams came out of halftime going shot for shot, before a late run in the 3rd Quarter gave NC a 51-42 lead going into the final 8 minutes.
North-Central put on a free throw performance that may be one of the best for the whole tournament, sinking 32 from the charity stripe. This helped North-Central maintain the lead, but with roughly 6 seconds left the Bulldogs only trailed by 3.
North-Central attempted to inbounds the ball with a full quart pass, but the Bulldogs’ Beller intercepted it an heaved up one final prayer. The ball fell close, hitting both sides of the rim, but inevitably rolled out.
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family Head Coach Kandee Hazel says, “I was thinking you know she always wants to shoot 3-pointers in the game so here’s your chance, and I though it was in, I really did.”
“But we’re pretty young, so I’m ready to come back. I guess the biggest thing is just their youth. Getting as many people on that floor as we could to show them the experience.”
McCleary said he was relieved when they final clinched the victory after the last second attempt.
North Central Head Coach Alex McCleary says, “Well, I think I just turned around and said ‘Please, no.’ Once it went up I looked at the ref, because I thought he might blow a foul because it was contested, and watch it clank off the rim and just kind of breathe a sigh of relief and say off tomorrow.”
“They had a huge size advantage on us with Beller inside, but it was just keep attacking and be relentless at the rim and we were. We didn’t finish the best, but when you get to the line 46 times you can say, hey, we never gave in offensively.”
The #5 Knights (23-3) will face off with #1 Pleasanton at 9 a.m on Friday, and the #4 Bulldogs finish the year 21-5.
NC 13 19 19 16 67
HLF 12 18 12 22 64
NC Orton 7, Bussinger 13, Linse 2, H. Wiebelhaus 2, Munger 5, Cosgrove 11, M. Wiebelhaus 24
HLF Veik 13, A.Beller 3, Schneider 19, Brandl 8, T. Beller 17, Reardon 2