In a battle of talented No. 33's, it was Amanda Lance and Twin Rivers who prevailed 48-45 over Central and Megan McDonald in a girls basketball contest Monday night at Central.
Lance finished with a game-high 23 points, but only four of those points came in the second half.
"We did a much better job on her" in the second half, Central coach Amy Blattel said.
After trailing 34-21 at halftime, Central (3-14) began to tighten up on defense in the second half. Twin Rivers (11-4) managed only six points in the third quarter,and had only five field goals the entire second half.
Meanwhile, the Tigers went to work at their 13-point deficit. Four of Central's five starters contributed in the third, with McDonald closing the quarter with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 40-32.
"We've started to have more girls step up and start scoring," Blattel said.
Central's more balanced attack was evident in the waning minutes of the game, as junior Erica Schabbing helped get the Tigers back into the game with a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute. A Schabbing 3-pointer cut the lead to 46-42, and 30 seconds later she cut the deficit to 46-45 with 20 seconds remaining.
"Schabbing hit those two big 3's, you can't ask for more," Blattel said.
Only down one, Central put the Royals on the free-throw line, a soar spot for Twin Rivers. Twin Rivers had missed three straight front shots on one-and-one opportunities, and Lance hit only one of her two free throws to push the lead to 47-45.
"It was an off-night for free throws," Lance said.
With McDonald on the bench with five fouls, Schabbing was the Tigers' primary target with a chance to win or tie. Schabbing was able to get open and hoisted up a 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds remaining, but the shot fell short.
"I think had Megan been in the ballgame at the end, Schabbing would have had more room to shoot the 3," Blattel said.
After the miss Twin Rivers once again made only one of two free throws, giving the Tigers one last shot to send the game into overtime. Central inbounded the ball with three seconds remaining but was not able to get off a good shot.
"It was very nerve-wracking," Lance said of the final minute.
Central led through most of the first quarter, but Lance hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Twin Rivers a 16-14 lead. The second quarter belonged to Twin Rivers, which outscored Central 18-7 with the help of a tough press.
McDonald led Central with 18 points and Schabbing had 10.
"We couldn't have had a better effort tonight," Blattel said. "I know the girls are tired of coming up short, but if we keep hacking the way we have, we'll be OK."
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