CARBONDALE -- Kandace Jones saved her best for last in Saturday's third-place game of the Carbondale Mid-Winter tournament.
After an Emily Hoard three-pointer sent the game into overtime, Jones scored all of Carbondale’s points in a 70-66 win over Massac County.
"We were missing a couple kids today and had an overtime game early in the year that the other team hit the three late and we didn’t respond well, so the fact they took over in overtime says a lot," said Carbondale coach Marialice Jenkins. "After losing the lead at the buzzer we could have got our heads down, but we didn’t."
Jones and Kaili Bacon controlled the offensive boards at the beginning of the overtime period. Carbondale needed the towering duo under the net as it took two tries before Jones was able to find the bottom of the net to give the Terriers the early lead 28 seconds in.
"That was on me because the last time we worked on rebounding was a month ago," said Massac County coach Keith Shelton. "Besides the boards we got two turnovers in overtime and you can’t do that. She did a great job switching her defenses and keeping us off-balance."
After Massac County (12-6) missed two tries to re-tie the game, Jones finally found the bottom of the net on the fourth try to give Carbondale a four-point lead 57 seconds in.
Jones led the Terriers with a double-double of 25 points and 16 rebounds, while Miller pumped in 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Bacon finished with nine boards and seven points.
"Jones and Miller put us on their backs today," Jenkins said. "Credit to Massac and especially, Hoard, who can flat-out play. Taja Dedecker was in her grill when she took that final shot."
Massac County finally got on the scoreboard when Natalie Hosman was fouled and converted both her free throw attempts to cut lead back to two with 1:47 remaining.
With 55 seconds left the Lady Patriots sent Jones to the line, and the junior forward made it interesting by making her first free throw, but missed her second to leave Massac County within a three-pointer.
"Because we usually lose ourselves in overtime I just wanted to get us off to a good start," Jones said. "Me and Kaili work on the boards in practice. Free throws are crucial and I shot enough to keep us ahead. I’m usually a really good free throw shooter, but it was nerve-wracking at the end."
Bacon then stole the ball and Carbondale was able to run 30 seconds off the clock before Jones was fouled again with 22.9 seconds remaining. This time she missed the first, but made the second to up the lead to four.
The Carbondale perimeter defense kept the Lady Patriots from taking an open three-point shot until Hosman finally launched one with five seconds left from the top of the key that bounced off the rim.
Carbondale (11-9) led by two after the first quarter after hitting just 6-of-16 shots, but exploded in the second quarter shooting the lights out of the ball canning 11-of-13 shots. Paige Bird hit two three-pointers as the Terriers took a 13-point lead in halftime.
In the fourth quarter the Lady Patriots finally took their first lead since early in the first quarter, when Hosman was fouled after stealing an in-bounds pass with 44.3 seconds left in regulation. The sophomore guard made her first free throw attempt, but missed her second for a 61-60 lead.
Miller regained the lead when she drove the length of the court and scored on a layup with 31 seconds left. As Massac County was trying to run the clock down for a final shot, the Terriers knocked the ball out of bounds and Bacon stole the in-bounds pass and passed to Miller, who fouled with 11.3 left on the clock. She sank both free throws to give Carbondale a 64-61 lead.
Emily Hoard took what seemed to be desperation 3-pointer from left side of the top of key, and the ball bounced around before falling in as the buzzer sounded to send the game into overtime. Hoard led the game with 35 points.
Edwardsville, making its first appearance at the Mid-Winter Classic, beat Collinsville, 58-33, to win the title and Mascoutah beat Mount Vernon, 57-35, for the consolation title.
Edwardsville freshman Rachel Pronger was named tournament MVP. The All-Tournament team consisted of Jones, Hoard, Makenzie Silvery from Edwardsville, Aubreeney Brady from Collinsville and Katie Jokish from Mascoutah.