PHOTO GALLERY and STORY by CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com
BATH — Whenever an all-out defensive war between two foes breaks out, the contest itself now breaks down into a battle of wits. The most minute details matter the most in the endgame stages. On Saturday at the 7th Annual Dan Barkley Showcase, both Avoca/Prattsburgh and Fillmore were tasked with that scenario that stemmed right from beginning to the very end.
With both teams trading back and forth barbs across all 32 minutes of play in the Showcase’s third and final girls contest of the slate, it was only appropriate for the defensive battle to carry onward into extra time to settle the score.
The pace that was established by both teams was no different come overtime. It was a case of who wanted it more down the stretch. After some crucial turnovers in the waning seconds of the only extra session in the contest, it came down to the most minute of details: free throw shooting.
Marissa Reid stepped up to the plate and delivered big time.
The Lady Titans junior faced the overexuberant amount of pressure with 2.3 seconds remaining on the clock, with ease, as she pulverized two massive free throws with a one-point lead already in hand, extending Avoca/Prattsburgh’s lead just enough over the Lady Eagles to secure win No. 5 overall for Steuben County by a 40-37 count in overtime.
“It was a battle, and Avoca/Prattsburgh is a good team,” Lady Eagles coach Tom Parks said. “They’re bigger than us, everyone was bigger than us, but we knew that we were going to be in for a battle like this. We have players with lots of game experience, but they haven’t been in a lot of tense end-of-game situations, yet let alone an overtime game. I thought they did some good things in certain regards, and were a little nervous in others. This game was good for us to have to show us how to be better in big moments.”
The largest lead held by either team over the course of the contest was six points. That was awarded to Avoca/Prattsburgh at the end of the first half, where they had to fight stride for stride with Fillmore (6-3) through an opening quarter that saw their early lead decrease with the help of a pair of nifty fingerrolls up to the basket from Hope Russell.
The defenses would work into a defensive groove come the second quarter, when multiple miscues were forced on each side to create chances that neither team was able to provide punctuations for, especially in the last 2:30 of the opening half. Later on, the battle worked its way towards a 16-16 tie after a three-point play by Preslee Miller for the Lady Eagles. That, before the Lady Titans (7-6) ended the opening half with a buzzer-beating bucket from Reid to finish with a 6-0 run.
In exchange for Avoca/Prattsburgh’s end to the first half, Fillmore would come along with a strong third quarter which ultimately saw their first outright lead of the game come with under a minute left in the frame. With Mattie McCumiskey finishing off a massive three-point play, and then a quick steal-and-go from Hope Russell to add more to the fire, the Lady Eagles soared to the top with possession of the defensive battle going into the fourth quarter, up by two.
For the remaining eight minutes, each team would trade back and forth spurts on offense, including a huge game-tying basket from Emma Carlton from just inside the arc, knocking one down with ease inside the left wing to tie the game at 33 going into overtime.
Despite some early hiccups, the Lady Titans were able to finish the job, as they survived one final defensive battle with the Lady Eagles to secure the win in overtime.
Avoca/Prattsburgh was led by Reid, who had 15 game-high points for the Lady Titans. Kamryn Edwards concluded with nine points, while Diane Hakes and Emma Carlton each recorded six. On the other side, Fillmore was led by Hope Russell’s 11 points. Grace Russell and Mattie McCumiskey followed with six, while Madi Geertman had six points.
The Lady Titans are now off until Wednesday night back on the road, as they visit Jasper-Troupsburg for a 6 p.m. visit. As for the Lady Eagles, they’re back on their home floor one day earlier, on Tuesday, when they host the Houghton Academy Lady Panthers in a 4:30 p.m. contest on Tuesday.
Avoca/Prattsburgh 10 12 5 6 7 — 40
Fillmore 9 7 13 4 4 — 37
AVOCA-PRATTSBURGH: D’Mariannah Hinson-Pike 0 1-2 1, Diane Hakes 3 0-0 6, Emma Carlton 3 0-0 6, Makenna Schlesing 1 1-4 3, Kamryn Edwards 4 1-4 9, Marissa Reid 5 5-6 15. Totals 16 8-16 40.
FILLMORE: Hope Russell 5 1-2 11, Grace Russell 3 1-1 7, Amelia ROse 1 0-2 2, Mattie McCumiskey 3 1-3 7, Preslee Miller 1 2-3 4, Madi Geertman 3 0-0 6. Totals: 16 5-11 37
3-point goals: None
Total Fouls: A/P 15, F 15 Fouled Out: none