Community R-VI head coach Bob Curtis knew his team was the likely favorite to win their matchup with rival Van-Far in spite of the Lady Trojans playing their Thursday, December 1 game on the Lady Indians’ home court. Van-Far didn’t have the services of starting senior post player Leah Johnson, who was injured in a vehicle accident earlier in the week.
None of the scenarios mattered when the two rivals took the court as the game involved a half time buzzer beater and a game-tying buzzer beater at the end of regulation before the Lady Trojans won the game in 2OT, 43-41. The win avenged a loss to Van-Far in March.
“The last time we were in this gym, things didn’t go over very well,” Bob Curtis said after the win. “You have to give credit to our kids to go to the free throw line and knock down some free throws when it counted to get us a win.”
Van-Far head coach Blake Logan was proud of how his team played in the loss.
“We knew they were going to be a very good team and knew we had to have our ‘A’ game,” Logan said. “Tonight, we came out with intensity, we were getting after rebounds, boxing out…I was really proud of the way we competed and they didn’t fold.”
Van-Far’s Kasey Gatson shined early in a matchup of two of the conference’s best guards as she scored seven of her game-high 20 points to pace the Lady Indians to an 8-4 lead in the first.
Community R-VI guard Brittni Brandwein shined in the second quarter with a converted 3-point play and her 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Lady Trojans up 18-14 at halftime.
Community R-VI led by five points early in the fourth before Van-Far’s Jessie Fowler scored three points during a 7-0 run to give the Lady Indians a 31-29 lead with 4:14 left in the game.
Brandwein’s two free throws with 44 seconds left in regulation pushed R-VI in front by three points. On Van-Far’s final possession in regulation, Fowler took a look at the clock just one second before she launched a game-tying 3-pointer to send the game into overtime tied at 34.
“That’s just a senior being a senior,” Logan said. “She had the savvy to look up at the clock and made the shot in that situation.”
In the first overtime, Community R-VI’s Alisha Arens made three critical free throws to give the Lady Trojans a one point lead with 33 seconds remaining. Gatson scored five points in the session and tied the game on a free throw with just 11 seconds later to tie the game at 40, sending the game into a second overtime.
Brandwein scored a basket with 3:03 left to take a two point lead. Paige Harris made one free throw with 21 seconds left to keep the lead at two. Brooke Johnson’s shot near the buzzer was off target and the Lady Trojans won the game by two.
Part of Community R-VI’s strategy in the second overtime was to run time off the clock.
“We were a little exhausted,” Bob Curtis said. “…We got a head of steam and tried to get them to matchup with us…”
Brandwein scored a team-high 11 points after making just 3-of-13 shots from the field. She also had four rebounds and one assist.
“She was our focal point defensively,” Logan said. “…We figured if we could keep her under double digits then we’d have a good chance to win the game.”
Read the rest of the story in the December 7 issue of The Vandalia Leader.