In an early season showdown between two SOC Division II schools on Thursday night, it took a little extra time to decide a winner.
Tied at 46 apiece at the end of regulation, Northwest and Portsmouth West went into overtime. It was the Lady Senators who prevailed in that period, 51-48.
West had four players in double figures in terms of scoring, led by 15 points from Jordyn Swords. Makayla White added 14, Morgan Rigsby had 12, and Madison Compton finished with 10.
“We’re not real deep,” Senators head coach Jason Claytor said. “We played six kids, but the sixth kid probably only played about three minutes, so we played five kids for 36 minutes.”
As could be expected, both teams traded runs throughout.
West jumped out to an 11-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, aided by two buckets each from White and Compton.
In the second quarter it was the Mohawks who outscored the Senators 19-11 to take a 26-22 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Northwest utilized a 12-6 run to end the second, with several scorers contributing in the stretch.
Overall, Abby Baer led the way for the Mohawks in the game with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Her head coach Dave Frantz tasked her and the team with being more aggressive after the season debut against Minford on Monday night, and they responded well.
“We had our best practice of the year after the Minford game,” Frantz said. “Our girls realized they didn’t really play with heart, they didn’t play with guts, and we challenged them and they stepped up.”
While Frantz challenged his two seniors in Baer and Magen McClurg following that outing against the Falcons, he also challenged his younger players to step up.
“I challenged my freshman Haidyn Wamsley and Val Eury to step up and I thought both of them did a great job,” Frantz said. “We told Haidyn she needed to be more aggressive, and she led the team in defensive rebounds from the point guard spot.”
Wamsley scored three points for Northwest, but grabbed 10 defensive boards. Eury finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Keirah Potts notched eight points for the Mohawks, and also blocked several shots.
With the lead at halftime, Northwest faltered a bit in the third quarter. West outscored the Mohawk 20-8 during that quarter, led by a 10-0 run in the middle of the period capped off by two three-pointers from Swords.
“In the third quarter, they outscored us 20-8,” Frantz said. “That’s where the difference of the game was, but to give my girls credit they were down 10 points and fought back to take the game into overtime.”
Behind 42-34 heading in to the last frame, Northwest knew they were down to their last gasp if they hoped to extend the contest or come out on top.
The Mohawks were able to do just that, holding the Senators to just four points and scoring 12 themselves.
“We just got tired,” Claytor said. “I think the physicality of the game got to us, and we got a little bit tired. We couldn’t make shots, we were getting good looks we just couldn’t make anything.”
Baer and Potts both scored four points in the fourth, and Northwest was assisted by a technical foul called on West with 4:56 left.
With under 30 seconds remaining, the biggest baskets came from Skylar Patty at the free throw line.
Trailing by two, the junior sunk both free throws to tie the game at 46 late.
The Senators had a chance to score and reclaim the lead, but were unable to do so. An outlet pass from the Mohawks looked to set up an easy layup, but sailed high and out of bounds with just four seconds to go.
West called a timeout, and Compton had a shot right at the final buzzer that was good. However, it came after the clock had hit zero, so it was waved off and the game proceeded into overtime.
“When we went into overtime, I feel like we’re in really good shape and that’s the time of the game that it shows … All those days of running and all the weight lifting we did, that’s when it pays off,” Claytor said.
Knotted up yet again, both teams were tied at 48 with under a minute on the clock. The Senators held possession, and White had a drive to the basket but was just off.
Fortunately for her, Rigsby was there for the rebound and the follow that would ultimately be the deciding basket in a 51-48 win as Northwest was unable to answer.
“She’s a kid that’s got a good motor,” Claytor said about Rigsby. “She struggled offensively, but she just keeps going, and keeps going, and keeps going.”
“She found herself in the right spot there late, and she just kept playing through some tough times.”
With a young roster like the Mohawks have, there are often growing pains experienced. Still, Northwest was able to show fight and resiliency especially when trailing late.
“We’re young, we’re still going to have to learn how to win, but we’re getting there,” Frantz said. “It’s a long process, but we’re getting there.”
Claytor thinks that both squads will have some wins on their schedule in the future, and liked what he saw.
“It was a good atmosphere I thought for an early season game,” Claytor said. “[Dave]’s got some wins coming his way this year, and I think we’ve got a few more coming our way as well.”
The win puts West at 2-0 on the season, and Northwest at 0-2.
Reach Benjamin Spicer at (502)264-7318 on Twitter @BSpicerPDT or at Facebook.com/ReporterBenSpicer
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