For the Tribune
Free throws can make the difference in a lot of high school games, and it did in Friday night’s Orleans-Crothersville girls’ game on the Tigers’ floor.
Crothersville’s Madison Reynolds made the front end of a one-and-one opportunity for her only point of the night, with 26.8 seconds remaining, for what proved to be the winning point in a 34-33 win.
Orleans’ Linza Busick had a 1-1 free throw opportunity with 12.3 seconds remaining, but her attempt bounced off the rim, and the ball fell to the floor, and Orleans’ Addie Ramsey recovered the ball and shot from her knees. The ball did not hit the rim, and when it came back down it went out of bounds and was Crothersville’s possession with 1.6 seconds remaining.
Tigers coach Kevin Hensley called a timeout, and he said he told Katrina Christian that if she couldn’t get open to receive a pass from Cassidy Mantz to go long. Christian ran toward the mid-court line where she caught the ball, took a dribble and time expired.
“I told them if the ball got loose we had to come up with it because we had the possession arrow, and I knew if we got it back we had one more chance,” Hensley said.
“I stacked them, and I knew there was only 1.6 seconds left and I told Katrina, ‘If you can’t catch the ball to just touch it and the clock will run out.”
Hensley said the Tigers’ man-to-man defense was the key to the win.
“The thing I kept telling the girls is the defense is what’s going to win this ballgame if we’re going to win. We just tried to keep the pressure on them the whole time, and it worked out in the end. We’re a better man team than we are a zone team so we pretty much stuck with it.”
The Tigers were ahead
26-25 going into the fourth
period before the Bulldogs went on top 29-26.
Christian converted a three-point play with 2:43 remaining to put the Tigers on top 33-29, and the Bulldogs tied it to set up the battle of the free throws in the final
Orleans held an 11-8 lead at the end of the first period, but the Bulldogs managed only one basket in the second and trailed 16-13 at the half.
The Bulldogs (2-1) scored the first basket of the second period before the Tigers went on an 8-0 run with Christian scoring five points and Alexis Adair hit a 3-pointer.
Christian topped the Tigers (4-2) with 16 points and Adair added 10. Christian also had eight rebounds.
“It was a big win, and I keep telling the girls we’ve got to make a statement game, and this kind of our first statement game to say, ‘Hey, we’re here. Now look at us,’” Hensley said.
The Tigers were without Lacey Hall and Abby Jewell. Hall suffered a wrist injury Tuesday night at Borden, and Jewell has been out all season with a knee injury.