Tabeling’s buzzer beater keeps Cougars’ postseason dreams alive


Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good.

But for Trinity Lutheran freshman Bailey Tabeling, there was no luck involved when she drilled the game-winning 3-pointer to keep the Cougars’ postseason dreams alive, 56-55, on Tuesday night against Edinburgh.

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With just under six seconds to go, Tabeling took the inbound pass, dribbled down the sideline and up to the top of the key, set her feet and drained just her second 3-pointer of the contest to deliver Trinity’s miracle comeback over the Lancers.

Cougar coach Mike Lang knew from the moment Tabeling touched the ball, she was going to make the shot.

“Watching her come down, she was very composed,” Lang said. “She got her feet set, she didn’t rush it and she has been in this position before when she was younger.”

Tabeling scored a team-high 21 points but hadn’t scored a field goal in the fourth quarter until the last shot of the game.

Edinburgh respected her shot-making ability, double-teaming her and fellow star Sydney Jaynes any time they touched the ball. Tabeling still found some open looks but struggled to hit them at the usual clip she’s used to.

“Bailey’s a very streaky shooter, and she got a lot of good looks tonight that didn’t go,” Lang said. “But I don’t care about those looks right now. She got the one that counted.”

The Lancers had their lead as large as 10 with less than four minutes to go, but timely shots from Kailene Cockerham and Hannah Sabotin kept the Cougars within striking distance.

Edinburgh had looked like the team wanting to advance to Friday’s sectional semifinal much more than the Cougars, and Lancer coach Amy Schilling was especially proud of her girls’ effort.

“My girls gave it their all,” she said. “For the whole 32 minutes, they played hard and things could have gone differently. We’ll always remember that last-second shot.”

Despite their size disadvantage, the Lancers outrebounded the Cougars 30-25 for the game. They held a sizable lead on the boards after a period and were the aggressors on the glass.

Lang simply stated his girls need to block out better going forward if they want to be competitive rebounding the ball.

Schilling noted her team’s execution of their game plan — keeping the ball away from Jaynes and Tabeling — helped contribute to their rebounding advantage.

For Edinburgh, they lose a group of seniors responsible for putting Lancer basketball back on the state’s radar.

Schilling said the last-second shot will serve as bulletin board material for next season, but the foundation laid by their seniors will have a greater impact.

“I think they definitely set the standard for our program,” Schilling said. “I think they showed the younger girls what it takes. Those seniors were in the gym every day all summer, and I hope the younger girls carry that on.”

Earning a rematch with Jackson County rival Crothersville, Lang hopes a close game with the Lancers is the wake-up call they need to be successful in the state tournament.

There are high hopes for this Trinity team, and they’ve been getting every team’s best shot night after night.

“I hope this does,” Lang said of Tuesday’s game waking up his players. “We’ve talked all year long about them having a big target on their back, and we’ve got to get past that. A lot of people are talking about where our record’s at, and right now, we’re 1-0, not 22-3.”

In addition to Tabeling, the Cougars were led by Sabotin’s 14 and Cockerham’s 10. Emma Schepman added six and Jaynes rounded out the scoring with five.

Destiney Ramey led the Lancers with 15, followed by Annelise Lollar’s 11.

Haven Link and Callie Hacock each scored nine, and Alyssa Funkhouser finished with six.