McDERMOTT – While it isn’t nearly as flashy as a fast-break layup, or a no look, behind the back pass, a free throw is one of the most essential, and often times, game deciding elements in basketball. This is no more true than in tight game situations, like the one at Northwest High School Wednesday night, when the Lady Mohawks attempt to slay the West Union Lady Dragons came up a little short thanks to a single free throw in overtime.
Tied at the end of regulation, 39-39, The West Union Lady Dragons fought off their potential slayers in overtime by scoring the only point of the extra period, a free throw, winning 40-39.
Lady Mohawks Basketball coach Krista Crabtree has been emphasizing the importance of free throws to her team over the past month.
“I’ve been trying to tell them free throws are a free shot,” Crabtree said. “There’s no defender, you just take your time and put it in the hole.”
Both teams struggled with free throws Wednesday night.
“That’s a huge deciding factor, when it comes down to a game like that,” Crabtree said while talking about the importance of hitting free throws in close games.
Overall, neither team shot over 50% from the line Wednesday. West Union only had five attempts from the line, and were only successful on two of those, giving them a 40% average on the night. Northwest, while having significantly more attempts from the line, 18 during the game, only made seven, which gave them a 39% average.
It wasn’t all gloom for the Lady Mohawks though, as they played with great intensity in overtime, which was abundantly visible when they were on defense.
The Lady Mohawks showed great execution in hitting the boards during the overtime period. Northwest stopped any hope of second shots by West Union, on three straight West Union possessions, by pulling down defensive rebounds in a still tied, 39-39, game.
Josee Osburn and Alexus Lisath teamed up to cut off the second shot opportunities by the Dragons on those three consecutive drives. Grabbing those defensive rebounds in such a close game was a huge deal for the Lady Mohawks, according to Crabtree.
“That’s what I preach to them, boxing out and rebounding,” Crabtree said. “You can probably hear me screaming it over there on the bench, ‘box out, box out’, because the biggest thing that we’ve had in our games so far is the second shots. We have to box out and rebound and pull those rebounds down, because those second shots kill us. It’s a big thing that we preach at practice and in games, that you have to box out and rebound, especially on the defensive end.”
Alexus Lisath had a great night, even though her team wound up on the losing side of the scoreboard. Lisath led the Lady Mohawks with 17 points on the night. She was also successful from the free throw line, shooting 75%, hitting three of her four attempts.
“She had an excellent game,” Crabtree said. “Rebounds, she was pulling them down left and right.”
Hannah Breech was the team’s second highest scorer, finishing with nine points.
“She came in and stepped up,” Crabtree said. “She had quite a few shots from the outside.”
Overall, Crabtree was proud of her team and the way they played.
“All of my girls, everybody off the bench, starters, they all gave 110% the whole game,” Crabtree said.
The Lady Mohawks will face an SOC foe on Monday night, as they travel to Minford High School to take on Scott Caudill’s Lady Falcons. Tipoff for the SOC matchup will be around 7:30 p.m.
Northwest – Lisath 7-3-17, Breech 3-2-9, Osburn 3-1-8, Hall 1-1-3, Patty 1-0-2
West Union – Pennington 6-1-15, Kirker 2-0-6, Grooms 3-0-6, Akers 2-0-5, Runyon 1-0-3, Baldwin 1-1-3, Gallowitz 1-0-2
Three-point field goals – Northwest 2 (Breech, Osburn) West Union 6 (Kirker 2, Pennington 2, Runyon, Akers)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.