A last-second shot gave the Lady Raiders a dramatic overtime victory over Cumberland County Saturday afternoon, their second win of the season.
After leading throughout most of the game the Lady Raiders saw their slim advantage disappear as foul troubles allowed the Lady Panthers to creep up and force extra time in the final minute.
It looked like the game may be headed to another extra frame as Cumberland tied the game with 33 seconds left and forced a turnover on McCreary’s next possession with just 6 seconds left on the clock.
But, on the inbound play, Ally Anderson intercepted the pass on the baseline and hit a quick jumper to seal the 58-56 win for McCreary.
It was the culmination of a big game for Anderson, as well for Kaylee Cotton, playing in just her fourth game after missing the first month of the season after knee surgery.
Anderson finished with 24 points in the game, while Cotton contributed 25. Brooke Stephens (6), Brooke Sluder (2) and Cyndol Kiser (1) accounted for the rest of the scoring.
The Lady Raiders jumped to a 9-2 lead in the first quarter, but some questionable calls from the officials and poor shooting never allowed them to get comfortable and Cumberland County kept on their heels throughout most of the game.
McCreary led, 35-29, at the start of the fourth quarter, and even built the lead up to 9-points in the first minutes, but the Lady Panthers continued to claw back.
A Macey Welchel steal with 30 seconds left in regulation led to Anderson drawing a foul, but she hit only one of two attempts, giving McCreary a 47-45 lead. Cumberland managed to tie the game with 17 seconds left, and McCreary was unable to get off a potential game-winning shot before time expired.
McCreary had plenty of opportunities to score, putting up 53 shots in the game, but they only hit 20 of them for a disappointing 37 percent shooting percentage. Likewise, the Lady Raiders only hit 13 of 29 attempts from the free throw line (44 percent), which allowed Cumberland to stay in contention.
The Lady Raiders are back in action this weekend with back-to-back home games. They host Southwestern Friday night (7:30 p.m.), and Williamsburg Saturday afternoon (3:00 p.m.)
Raiders top Panthers
Led by a 27-point performance from Hunter Jones, the Raiders cruised to a 68-52 win, their second in the past four games.
Jones started the night of hitting a jumper for McCreary in the opening minute, and the Raiders never trailed from that point on.
While the defense wasn’t strong in the first half, the offense proved to be able to keep up the pace, but couldn’t pull out ahead more than four points for most of the first half.
A late surge gave the Raiders an 11-point lead at the break, 32-11, which they were able to maintain through most of the third quarter.
Cumberland rallied in the closing minutes of the period, at one time closing in to within four points of the lead, but the Raiders responded with a 9-2 run to end the quarter with a 50-38 lead.
McCreary managed to keep the pace in the final frame, matching Cumberland shot for shot down the stretch and posting their fourth win of the season.
Both squads were pretty even in the final statistics.
McCreary shot 51 percent (23-15) from the floor, while Cumberland finished with 48 percent (20-41). Both were nearly even in rebounds and turnovers, but the one area that put the Raiders ahead was from the free throw line.
While McCreary was called for 16 personal fouls, just one more than Cumberland, the Raiders shot 8 more free throws throughout the game, and hit more. McCreary hit 66 percent (16-24) of shots from the charity stripe while the Panthers hit only half (8-16).
Scoring: H. Jones -27, D. Strunk -14, D. Hamilton -12, B. Troxell -10, J. Cash -4, C. Kidd -1.
The Raiders (4-8) have a tough week ahead of them as they host both Southwestern and Wayne County over the next six days, both District opponents.
Thursday night the Warriors come to town for the two team’s first meeting. The Warriors entered the week with a 9-2 record. Next Tuesday the Cardinals pay a visit with an 8-4 record.
McCreary hosted the annual Arby’s/KFC Holiday Classic over the break, finishing with a 1-3 record. The Raiders defeated Middlesboro