WEST FRANKFORT — Alora Mouyard’s tip-in with 1:16 remaining gave Johnston City its first lead and the Lady Indians held on to beat Eldorado, 44-41, to advance to the semifinals of the West Frankfort 2A girls basketball regional Monday.
"I was only thinking I needed to give everything I got since I am a senior and this was it if we lost when Ashley (Smiley) took the shot," Mouyard said. "I jumped as high as I could trying to reach the rim to make it sure it went in, but instead it ricocheted off and I tipped it before falling to the floor."
Johnston City (9-18) will play Harrisburg on Tuesday at 6 p.m., followed by West Frankfort and Du Quoin in the second semifinal.
"I know very little about Harrisburg," said Johnston City coach Lenny Clark. "We’re just happy to the win tonight and we’ll worry about them tomorrow."
The Lady Indians trailed by 17 with 1:19 left in the first half and cut it to one 3:25 into the third quarter. Eldorado extended its lead back to eight at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Lady Indians rallied again to cut it back to one with 3:37 left.
"We fought pretty hard at the end of the second quarter to cut the lead to 11 to get us back into the game, and came out in the third to score the first 10 points to give a chance," Clark said. "At the end we had two sophomores (Kenzie Nichols and Makayla Loftus) that hit two big free throws each, and that was the difference."
Olivia Parker scored 18 seconds later to extend Eldorado’s lead back to three, but Nichols sank two free throws to cut it back to one with 2:15 left.
Eldorado had a chance to extend the lead when Zakiya Britton drew a foul 33 seconds later, but missed the front end of the one-and-one. The Lady Indians brought the ball down and Ashley Smiley took a shot from the right side and missed, but Mouyard’s tip gave Johnston City the lead, 42-41. Mouyard led the game with 13 points.
Smiley had a chance to give the Lady Indians a cushion, but missed two free throws 36 seconds later. Eldorado then had a chance to retake the lead with 17.5 left, but Britton again missed the front end of a one-and-one.
"We’ve struggled at the free throw line when it came to crunch time all season," said Eldorado coach Scott Artman. "From the field we shot pretty well in the first half, but in the second we started hurrying with the basketball in pressure situations making passes we don’t need to make."
Loftus was fouled on the rebound and made both her free throw attempts to extend Johnston City’s lead to three with 16.7 remaining. With 10 seconds left, Rachel Stafford missed a 3-pointer from the left side in an effort to send the game into overtime. Stafford and Parker led the Lady Eagles with 11 points each.
Smiley opened the second half with a 3-pointer from the right side. Mouyard followed with a 3-pointer from the left side and a jumper from the right corner.