In their second game in three days, it took 4 minutes of extra time and her first points of the game, but in the end Kylie Atwood’s 2 free throws with 45 seconds to go in overtime were enough to give her Lake Region Lady Rangers a thrilling 49-45 win over the Winooski Spartans Saturday afternoon.
Lake Region jumped out on top quickly in the first and they looked like they were going to run away with the game. A quick 3, followed by an and-1 from Drew Neal, and a Sara Piette free throw pushed the lead to 7-0 before most of the fans had taken their seats. Winooski would make a run to close the gap to within 1 at 7-6, before LR would extend the lead back to 7 after Sarah Bedard knocked hit buzzer-beating lay-up to end the first quarter at 14-7.
The lead would swell to 11 midway through the 2nd after 2 Caylin Gallup free throws pushed the score to 19-8. That would be the largest lead either side would have for the remainder of the game as Winooski would go on a 9-3 run to close out the quarter, cutting the score to 22-17, and setting the game up for a wild second half.
The Spartans were able to complete the comeback and tie the game at 23 with 4 minutes to go in the 3rd. On the next possession they would get their first lead of the ball-game after Brianna Robare would go coast-to-coast for the layup.
Bedard would once again use her buzzer-beating skills as she successfully knocked down a jump shot seconds before the buzzer, to give the blue and white a 30-28 lead entering the fourth quarter.
With just over 3 minutes to go in the 4th, the Lady Rangers found themselves on top by 1, with Sarah Burnham at the line for two free throws. During this sequence of events the Winooski coach was assessed a technical foul and the home team delivered the damage. Lake Region would make 3 out of 4 free throws during the exchange to push the lead to 4 at 36-32.
After Winooski was able to claw back once again and cut the score to 37-36, LR senior Emily Comins would knock down 2 key free throws, extending the lead to 39-36 with 22 ticks remaining in the half. But, it wouldn’t be enough as the resilient Spartan’s ball club would go the other way with Robare putting home an and-1, tying the game at 39 with just 10 seconds to go.
Lake Region would go the other way, only to have Winooski knock the ball out of bounds would 1 second remaining on the clock. Comins, received the in-bounds pass and got off a line-drive 3-point attempt that would hit back iron and fall away, sending the game to overtime with the score tied at 39.
The Rangers would draw first blood at 41-39 in OT as Burnham, connected on 2 free throws before Robare would knock down a long 2, once again knotting the score, this time at 41. Avah Eaton would give the Spartans a 43-41 lead with 2 minutes left, before both Neal and Piette would connect on a free throw each to tie the game at 43.
Neal stole the ensuing inbounds pass and dropped it home with just 90 seconds on the clock to put the blue and white up 45-43. But once again, it was not enough as back the other way went Robare with a coast-to-coast drive that tied the score once again.
Lake Region would catch a break with just 45 seconds to go in OT, as Robare picked up her 5th foul of the contest, knocking her out of the game and sending Kylie Atwood to the line. She would calmly knock down both shots, giving the Rangers the lead and securing a victory.
Lake Region’s head coach Mark Tinker was pleased that his team got the victory, but knows they still need to improve. “It was a crowd pleaser. I have to give credit to the kids for sticking with it and getting the job done.”
While she remained quiet on the scorers sheet (2 points) Atwood stepped up when her team need her the most, much to the admiration of her coach.
“She was frustrated out there tonight, but I think she redeemed herself with those two at the end. She is improving every day and we are starting to see some of the old Kylie.”
Brianna Robare played stellar for the Spartans as she led the way with a game-high 27. Ashley Antoniak and Rebecca Spittle each had 7.
Caylin Gallup led the Lady Rangers scoring attack with 15 points and Drew Neal reached double digits, as she chipped in with 11.
The win runs Lake Regions’ season record to 6-4 and they will take to the hardwood again Thursday night, when they travel to Winooski, to face off against these same Spartans. JV action starts at 5:00 with Varsity to follow with a 6:30 tip.