Crothersville hit six of 10 free throws in overtime to defeat Trinity Lutheran 49-47 in the opening game of the Class A Sectional 61 at Orleans on Tuesday night.
Maddie Riley’s basket with 55 seconds remaining in overtime put the Tigers on top for good at 45-43. Piper Hensley’s two free throws with 25.8 seconds remaining increased the Tigers’ lead to 48-43 before Morgan Gabbard hit a free throw and Piper Acton made a 3-pointer to close the gap to 48-47.
Katrina Christian added a free throw with 1.9 seconds remaining to close the scoring and help the Tigers tie the school record for wins in a season at 17.
“I think the difference was when we got the momentum going into overtime,” Tigers coach Kevin Hensley said. “We got the momentum going our way.”
Trinity’s Abby Hackman scored on an offensive rebound to give her team a 41-39 lead with 45 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Tigers tied the game on a layup by Christian in the closing seconds to force overtime.
“Our game plan is to get the ball into the hands of our better free throw shooters,” Hensley said.
The Tigers made 17 of 27 for the game and the Cougars were 5 for 10 at the line.
Christian started out red hot by making all six of her shots from the floor, including a 3-pointer, to help the Tigers to a 15-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“In the first quarter, we let Katrina get going, and she scored all their points,” Cougars coach Mike Lang said. “From that point on, we did a really nice job. She came out hitting well. Between Jodi (Goecker), Savannah (Harweger) and Piper (Acton), they did a really nice job on her defensively. Everybody knew in the gym who was going to take the last shot to get it in overtime, and we failed to pick her up.
“At the end of the day, we shouldn’t have been in that situation. We missed too many shots from 3 feet.”
Whitney Rogers led the Cougars in the first quarter with two baskets.
The Cougars warmed up on offense at the start of the second quarter, scoring the first two baskets on the way to an 8-1 rally to take an 18-16 lead on a layup by Hackman at 5:45.
The Tigers picked up the pace in the final 5:15 and used layups by Christian and Piper Hensley and two free throws by Lacey Hall to lead 25-22 at the half.
Hensley said he wanted Christian to continue to look for her shot, but Trinity’s defense was collapsing on her, and she scored only one basket in the second quarter and one in the third.
Trinity outscored Crothersville 8-5 in the third quarter to tie the score at 30 going into the fourth quarter.
The Cougars took a 39-37 lead on a 3-point basket by Whitney Rogers with 1:32 remaining, and the Tigers tied the score at 39 on two free throws by Christian with 24 seconds remaining.
Christian topped the Tigers (17-8) with 27 points, and Piper Hensley scored 11.
Coach Hensley said Trinity put up a good effort.
“Trinity played their hearts out. They have nothing to be ashamed of. I couldn’t be more proud of them if they were my team,” he said.
The Tigers will play Orleans at 6 p.m. Friday.
The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 46-39 early in the season.
“It’s going to take another team effort,” Hensley said.
Rogers topped the Cougars (11-14) with 16 points, and Acton finished with 14.
Rogers was only the senior starter for Trinity.
“One thing we put on the board was no regrets. Whitney Rogers ended her career with no regrets. She went out there and had the game of her life and in the biggest stage hit shot after shot. She’s a girl we will really miss in this program,” Lang said.