Girls Class A: Grand Island eliminated in overtime thriller
Published: March 14, 2010, 12:20 am
GATES — So close.
Grand Island, bidding to reach the state final four for the first time, saw its hopes dashed in overtime on Saturday. The Vikings were outscored, 12-3, in the extra period and fell, 62-53, to Greece Arcadia in the Class A Far West Regionals. The game was played before an estimated 600 at Gates-Chili High School.
GI was lucky the game went into overtime. The Vikings had the ball with 14 seconds left in regulation with the game tied, 50-50. Instead of getting the potential game-winning shot, Ashley Armstrong of the Lady Titans stole the ball with 3.2 seconds left and was heading the other way with great urgency. Her layup hit off the backboard too strong and fell off the front of the rim.
The Vikings were unable to take advantage of the second life, managing just three points on free throws and were plagued by poor shot selection. Meanwhile, Greece Arcadia scored five points on two jumpers and was 7 of 10 from the free throw line in the final 52 seconds to put the game away. The Titans earned the berth into the state final four next weekend at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
"Four of their starters are seniors, so you knew they weren't going away," said Grand Island coach Jen Banker. "I would have liked to have gotten a shot there to give it a chance in regulation.
"Their kids stepped up in overtime and hit those threes and that forced our hand in terms of trying to get some threes to get back in it."
The loss was especially tough considering Grand Island led most of the way. It ended the first quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 15-12 lead. The Vikings did not trail in the second quarter although the Titans cut the margin to 25-24. The lead was 30-27 GI at the half.
In the third quarter, Grand Island held the Titans without a point in the final 3:56 to take a 41-35 lead going into the fourth quarter. Any momentum, though, was quickly dashed as the Titans chipped away at the lead. They tied the score, 47-47, on an inbounds play. The teams traded three-pointers and it was off to overtime.
"We were in it together, every single one of us was giving it everything we had," said Danielle Wegrzyn, who led the Vikings with 17 points, including four three-pointers. "To get into overtime in the state qualifying game is huge. It's tough because we had the lead a lot. In reality, one field goal could have made a difference because all of their shots at the end were foul shots."
Mary Scherrer added 12 points for Grand Island while Kallie Banker added nine while running the point. The Titans' Jessica Sexton led the way with 18 points.