It may be a little premature to call Brownstown’s win over South Central on Monday the upset of the decade, but it certainly is the upset of the season, as the Lady Bombers took down the Lady Cougars in overtime, 50-46, in the first round of the regional tournament.
South Central entered the season as the reigning regional champs with extremely-high expectations. The season started with a bang, but over the last four weeks or so, the Lady Cougars have struggled and their season came to an end with red eyes and sniffles as they left the gym on Monday night.
"When you get into the dog days of the season, it gets a little tiring," South Central coach Keith Senior said. "We had some internal stuff that came out in the last month and it burned us from the inside out."
On the other end of the gym, the Lady Bombers were basking in the excitement of the upset which was also a little payback for two losses that South Central dealt them earlier in the season. The scrappy Brownstown squad was able to outrebound the Lady Cougars and knock down key free throws to keep their season alive.
"I thought we would have a rebounding edge on them, but we did not hit the offensive glass like we're capable of," Senior said.
"We came out and did exactly what we wanted to do defensively," Brownstown coach Katy Heckert said. "Offensively, we knew everyone had to have a good night, and they did."
The game was up for grabs throughout the night, as neither team led by more than seven. South Central was able to work the ball into the post early on and get to the free-throw line, putting the Lady Bombers in foul trouble. While the Lady Cougars were getting a majority of its points from the stripe, Brownstown moved the ball around and hit shots from all over the court.
The teams traded leads through the first and second quarters, with neither team being able to put together a sizeable run.
Audrey Matheny laid in a basket with four seconds remaining before halftime, giving South Central a 25-24 lead. That would be the Lady Cougars' last basket for the next eight minutes of game time, as they did not score again until four seconds were left in the third quarter.
South Central came out in the third quarter absolutely flat. It wasn’t able to work the ball into the post as it had in the first half, and wasn’t getting many shot opportunities because Brownstown's defense had come out strong.
"That's when I started to think 'Maybe we can do this,'" Heckert said.
The Lady Cougars’ offense wasn’t the only one struggling after the intermission. The Lady Bombers weren’t shooting the ball as well as they had been in the first half. They made only three shots from the field in the quarter and went to the free-thrown line once, building their biggest lead of the game, 31-25.
Krista Lotz made a free throw at the end of the quarter to end South Central’s drought.
Trailing by only five, the Lady Cougars put together a run in the middle of the fourth quarter and took a 36-35 lead on a three-point play by Matheny.
Going into the final 60 seconds of the fourth quarter, South Central led 36-35. It knocked down three free throws to push the lead to four with 30 seconds remaining.
Brooke Maxey scored a quick basket to the cut the lead to two, and after a Lady Cougars miss, Brownstown had 20 seconds to tie or take the lead. The Lady Bombers missed their shot but got the rebound and put the ball back up. It missed again, but White was there to clean up the glass and put the shot up a third time. White’s shot would fall, tying the game, 39-39, with 10 ticks left. South Central would turn the ball over and the fourth quarter would end knotted at 39.
"Going into overtime, I just knew when the girls went out on the floor that they knew they were going to win this game," Heckert said.
Matheny opened overtime by dropping in a shot and giving South Central a two-point lead, what would be its final lead of the game. Brownstown went on a 6-0 run, hitting four free throws in a 90-second stretch. The Lady Cougars got within one at 45-44 with 51 seconds remaining, but could not retake the lead.
"I knew my girls were going to fight to the very end," Senior said.
The Lady Bombers were 7-for-10 from the free-throw line in overtime and 12-for-18 for the game. South Central missed three free throws in OT and was 19-for-26 on the night.
Matheny had a team-high 15 points and nine rebounds before fouling out in the final minute of overtime. Abbey Jones had 13 points and seven rebounds, knocking down two three-pointers. Krista Lotz dished out six assists and scored seven points.
The Lady Bombers were led by Abby Hill’s 15 and Maxey’s 11. White had four of her eight in the extra period.
Brownstown (11-15) moved on to play Altamont Wednesday at 8:10 p.m.; results were available at press time.
South Central ends the season 18-7.
St. Anthony 63
The Lady Bombers fell to St. Anthony, 63-48, on Thursday. Abby Hill had 15 points on the night, hitting six shots from the field.
Brownstown was slowly outscored in every quarter, leading to the 15-point loss. St. Anthony hit 13 three pointers in the win, totaling 39 of its 63 points. It hit more shots outside the arc than inside the arc. Brownstown hit one trey.
Morgan Myers scored 13 points for the Lady Bomber, all in the second and third quarter.
Brooke Maxey had four points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists.
South Central 46
Wayne City 31
The Lady Cougars ended their regular season on a high-note, defeating Wayne City, 46-31.
Abbey Jones scored a team-high 15 points, going for eight in the first period alone.
South Central held an 18-5 lead after the first quarter and had the game well under control throughout the night. Kelsey Uphold was also in double figures, as she scored 10. Audrey Matheny was the leading rebounder with eight.
South Central made 21 shots on the night.