Central Lee moves into a tie for second in SEISC South
BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON -Jay Baldwin thought it was going to happen again.
This time, though, the last-second shot of Holy Trinity’s Natalie Randolph missed, and Central Lee survived for a 52-50 road win over the Crusaders on Friday night.
It was Randolph’s 3-pointer at the buzzer that sank the Hawks in a 47-44 home loss on December 17.
This time, though, her shot with two seconds left hit the rim.
“I thought it was deja vu,” laughed Baldwin, Central Lee’s coach.
The Hawks (11-6 overall, 10-4 SEI Superconference South Division) moved past the Crusaders and into a second-place tie with West Burlington in the division, while Holy Trinity (10-8, 10-5) slipped to fourth.
“It was a good win,” Baldwin said. “We really kind of grew up tonight.”
Central Lee led 49-43 with 2:06 remaining before the Crusaders tied the game with a 6-0 Randolph run. She scored as she was fouled with 1:53 to go, making the free throw to bring Holy Trinity within 49-46, then she tied the game with a 3-pointer with 1:15 to play.
Maura Watkins’ layup put Central Lee up 51-49, then Holy Trinity’s Mary Kate Bendlage made one of two free throws with 44 seconds left. Mya Lampe missed a shot for the Hawks, but Macy Watkins came up with the rebound. Watkins got the ball to her sister, who was fouled with 23 seconds left. Maura Watkins made the first free throw, but missed the second.
Holy Trinity had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Teagan Snaadt’s 3-pointer missed. The battle for the rebound resulted in a jump ball, with the alternating possession going to Central Lee. Karlie Pohren was fouled on the inbounds play and missed the front end of the one-and-bonus, giving the Crusaders a final chance. Randolph rushed up the left side, but couldn’t hit the game-winner.
“I said the fourth quarter was going to be a neck-up quarter,” Baldwin said. “And we responded.”
It was the second close loss for the Crusaders this week. They fell to Danville 51-44 on Tuesday.
“There are just some mental hurdles we need to get over,” Holy Trinity coach Tony Johnson said. “They’ve got it in them to play well. We just have to get it out of them.”
Central Lee roared to a 13-0 start to the game. Johnson burned two timeouts in the first 4 1/2 minutes.’
“Defensively in the first quarter, I had no idea what we were doing,” Johnson said.
But the Crusaders went on a 14-5 run that lasted into the second quarter, and Central Lee only led 24-18 at halftime.
Holy Trinity was just 9-of-17 in free throws, a problem that cost the Crusaders in the loss to Danville.
“Free throws are still killing us,” Johnson said. “We can X and O all we want, but we can’t miss free throws and win games.”
Alivia Myhre led Central Lee with 21 points, while Makayla Morrison had 10.
Randolph finished with 17 points. Bendlage had 13.
“We’re playing better,” Baldwin said. “The problem is, we’re still learning. We’ve been playing good, but we haven’t been able to get over the hump. Tonight we did that.”