Last-second shot misses; Jackson holds offCentral

Friday, February 14, 2003

For the second time in three days teams from Jackson and Central High School packed into Jackson High School to resume a SEMO Conference basketball rivalry.

But unlike Tuesday's boys game that saw the Tigers roll past Jackson, Thursday's girls game went down to the wire before Jackson pulled out a wild one, 47-44.

Despite both team's rocky starts, neither offense appeared to suffer. Central and Jackson traded basket after basket until Alex Wieser's 3-pointer at the buzzer put the Tigers ahead 15-12 at the end of one quarter.

Central hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter, relying on the outside shot to drive its offense.

Tigers coach Sheila Midgett said after concentrating on their post play in their first meeting with Jackson, she knew the team would have to change things.

"We knew we needed to be ready to do something different," she said.

Central also made the most of a physical style that kept Jackson from getting open looks in the first half.

"They knock, we fall," Jackson coach Ron Cook said. "We don't have a lot of strength. They're a lot more physical than we are."

Down three, Jenna Leet exploded after halftime. Leet scored Jackson's first eight points of the quarter and helped the Indians grab a 35-32 lead midway through the third.

Tigers senior Anna Brisso helped keep Central in the game by scoring all of Central's eight points in the third quarter, including a late 3-pointer to tie the score at 38. Jackson senior Kristen Howard put the Indians back up with a two-pointer to end the quarter.

Cook said the key to Jackson's third-quarter comeback was slowing down on offense.

"We were a little more patient," he said.

Jackson stepped up its full court pressure in the fourth quarter, getting an early steal by Ashley Bartels that brought the Jackson lead to 42-38. Wieser's three cut the lead to one, but Jackson used Leet's penetration to get senior Whitney Werner to the line where she converted both attempts.

"She did a good job driving and getting to the hole," Midgett said of Leet.

After failing to convert on their next possession, Central left Leet wide open for a 3-pointer, which she buried to give Jackson a 47-41 lead with five minutes remaining. The Indians took nearly two minutes off the clock after that until Wieser hit her third 3-pointer of the game with one minute left to cut the lead to three.

Megan McDonald came up short on her 3-point attempt with 10 seconds left, and after a Jennifer Ferrell missed free throw, Wieser's contested last-second attempt to tie the game fell off the front of the rim.

"I think it could have gone either way," she said of the non-call at the buzzer. "I thought the officials did a good job. I think the play is what decided the game."

Leet led all scorers with 20 points for Jackson. Bartels had nine points and Howard added eight.

"The role players did a great job," Cook said. "Bartels had a pretty good game, and Howard did a good job."

Central had three players in double figures. Wieser led the Tigers with 13 points, McDonald had 10 and Brisso had 11.

"Offensively I thought everyone contributed," Midgett said. "That's what we need on an everyday basis."

Bartels said the win will go a long way as districts approach.

"Beating Cape builds up our confidence tremendously," she said.

jjoffray@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 171

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