GOREVILLE — Though the snow was swirling outside, it was hot inside the Goreville gym with a Johnson County rivalry game on Senior Night, as Vienna came from behind to beat the Lady Blackcats, 59-53, in Black Diamond cross-conference girls basketball game Thursday.
"It was a fun game," said Vienna coach Jamie Kerley. "We had a short run at the end of the first half with Madisen Pearman and Maddie Penrod hitting some threes, and if they didn’t do that we wouldn’t have won the game."
Vienna (19-8) trailed by six late in the third quarter, but rallied behind the play of freshman Addison Bent and junior Haleigh Keeling to outscore the home team by 10 points in the fourth quarter and extend its winning streak to five games.
"We were slow at the start, but we never really got worried, despite falling behind by 11 in the first half, because we knew we could rally and win," Bent said. "In the second half we had some girls knock down some threes to get us back into the game, and we got some steals at the end to hold them off."
Bent came off the bench to lead the team in scoring with 15 points and rebounding with a career-high 17 boards, while Keeling finished with nine points and Alyssa Jones added 14, which included making 8-of-10 from the free throw line.
Goreville (12-12) led virtually the entire first half, and survived a late Vienna rally in the final two and a half minutes of the second quarter to hold onto a one-point lead at the half.
"We have to take better care of the ball at the end when there was plenty of time to get a good shot, but we just couldn’t get enough movement to create the space we needed," said Goreville coach Mike Helton.
The Lady Eagles came out strong after the break in the third quarter, with a a jumper by Lindsey Holhubner and a 3-pointer by Penrod staking Vienna to a four-point lead.
But Goreville rallied back on back-to-back 3-pointers by Breanna Stout and Lexi King to regain the lead, sparking an overall 14-4 run to take a six-point lead with 1:23 remaining in the third quarter. King led the game with 20 points.
Bent scored on a rebound to close out the third quarter and Keeling opened the fourth with a drive down the lane to regain the momentum for the Lady Eagles.
After Stout sank her third 3-pointer, the Lady Eagles went on a 12-1 run that included another putback by Bent, a 3-pointer by Keeling and a three-point play by Jones to take a six-point lead with 3:45 remaining.
Goreville cut the lead to one on Stout’s fourth 3-pointer and two free throws by King with 2:08 remaining. Bent then drew a foul 16 seconds later and missed her first attempt, but made her second to up the lead to two.
King then missed a 3-point attempt from the right side and Keeling was fouled on the rebound. She made her first and missed her second, leaving an opening for the Lady Blackcats with 1:09 left.
After a timeout, Goreville threw the ball away and Keeling went back to the line and again split a pair of free throws, bumping the lead to four with 39 seconds left.
Emma Rush then stole the ball and was fouled, but the freshman missed both her free throw attempts, leaving the margin at four with 24 seconds remaining. Bent sealed the win with a steal and layup with 11 seconds left.
In the first quarter the Lady Blackcats jumped out to a 10-point lead with 58 seconds remaining in the first quarter on a three-point play by King when the junior was fouled on a layup.
Vienna came right back on two free throws by Jones and a putback by Bent at the buzzer to cut the lead to six heading into the second quarter.
The lead was 11 points when Bent was fouled and made both her free throws to start a 13-3 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers by Penrod and Pearman, and ended with a putback by Bent with eight seconds left to cut the lead to one at the half.