Tigers come back in OT to beat Cougars


By Arv Koontz
For The Tribune

Katrina Christian and the Crothersville girls basketball team would not be denied during Saturday’s basketball game against Trinity Lutheran in the Bollinger Athletic Complex.

While the Tigers trailed by nine points in both the third and fourth periods, and fell behind at the start of overtime, they rallied each time and went home with a 75-67 win.

Savanna Harweger made a layup to put the Cougars on top 59-57 with two minutes remaining in the fourth period. Christian drove for a basket with 1:15 remaining to tie the game at 59, but neither team scored the remainder of the fourth period.

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The Cougars had possession of the ball in the closing seconds, but missed a shot and the teams prepared for overtime.

Abby Hackman scored on a move to the basket at the start of overtime to put the Cougars on top 61-59 before the Tigers went on a 7-0 run to take a 66-61 lead.

The Tigers closed the game on another 7-0 run to push their win streak to seven games.

Christian led the rallies in the fourth quarter and overtime and established a new single-game scoring record along the way.

She made 15 baskets and 9 of 11 free throws for 39 points to break the former mark of 38 set by Sarah Turner against Eastern (Pekin) on Dec. 9, 1986.

“We didn’t have any idea until she hit that last basket,” Tigers coach Kevin Hensley said of the record. “That put her over. It’s really hard to stay in front of her. She’s so quick. You can try to take that left-hand away. It’s not as easy as anybody thinks. She’s so powerful.”

Christian totaled 14 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter, and eight points in the overtime.

Whitney Rogers drove for a layup, then stole the inbound pass and converted a 3-point play to put the Cougars on top 57-49 with 4:30 remaining in the fourth quarter.

However, the Cougars committed six turnovers in the fourth period with some of those mistakes leading to Crothersville baskets.

“I think our pressure started getting to them a little bit,” Hensley said. “I started to see them get shaky with their ball handling, and when Piper Acton (fouled) out that hurt them. She does a lot for their team.

“Once they have to go to the bench they’re a little bit younger. Katrina and Kashmir (Kelshaw) were really getting after it.” Trinity had 20 turnovers, one more than the Tigers.

The Cougars committed six turnovers in the fourth period with some of those mistakes leading to Crothersville baskets.

Trinity coach Mike Lang said he was proud of the way his team battled until the end.

“This is what a rivalry is all about,” he said. “Both teams played hard. Nobody paid attention to the scoreboard. They just kept playing the game. We had an opportunity right at the end of the game to win it and we didn’t and they took advantage of it in overtime and came away with the victory.”

Acton scored seven points in the first period to help the Cougars to a 15-10 lead. Christian scored eight points in the second quarter to help the Tigers take a 34-33 lead into the locker room at the half.

Savanna Harwager scored six in the third quarter when Trinity outscored Crothersville 17-9 to lead 50-43 going into the fourth quarter.

Lacey Hall added 10 points for the Tigers including four points in overtime.

Trinity had a balanced scoring attack as Rogers scored 15, Hackman 14, and Harweger and Acton 13 each. Hackman topped the Cougars in rebounds with 12.

“I thought Harweger came off the bench and provided a huge spark for us throughout the course of the game,” Lang said. “She got a little tired there toward the end and I took her out to give her a breather here and there.

“I liked how we had some diverse scoring in there. We were taking advantage of our height advantage, but it’s’ something we’ve got to continue to see and recognize. It’s just part of understanding the game, and understanding the game better on a whole.”

The Tigers (7-1) are off until a Dec. 1 game at South Decatur.

“We still need to work on our defense and not use our hands,” Hensley said. “We want to stick our hands on the girls. We’ve got to learn to move our feet more, and take care of the ball better. One play can cost you a game.

“It’s a big confidence builder for our team to come in and beat a great team like them. We knew it was going to beat a tough battle tonight.”

The Cougars were coming off a win against Eastern Greene on Friday night.

“The reality of the matter is we’re 1-4,” Lang said. “We look at the four games we lost. We’ve played well in all four games. We’ve got to start figuring out ways to solidify these things and put teams away. We had a chance to put them away a couple times and we didn’t do it.

“We had poor passes, we had poor recognition, but that goes back to them playing hard. I can’t say it’s all on us. They had something to do with that too. I thought our bench came in ready to play.”

Trinity will travel to Borden on Wednesday.

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