CARTERVILLE – Marion trailed by eight points with less than four minutes remaining in the game, but rallied to send the game into overtime and outscore Massac County 13-4 in the overtime period to win, 64-55, to advance to the semifinals of the Carterville 3A girls basketball regional Monday night.
"The way we won wasn’t quite the way we drew it up, but it worked," said Marion coach Mike Manfredo. "It was a game of runs. We jump out early and got a little complacent. They step it up huge the second quarter with the pressure and they got back in it and it continued in the third quarter. Next thing you know we’re down eight in the fourth. Give Massac credit. They came at us like wolves and we didn’t handle it very well. Finally we got our composure and got back into the game."
Seventh seed Marion (16-12) will play top seed Carterville (23-5) at 6 p.m. in the first semifinal today. The win was the third in a row over the Lady Patriots this season with two coming in overtime.
Murphysboro (17-10), led by Kayla Walker with 31 points, beat Herrin, 53-29, in the second game and will play Olney Richland County in the other semifinal today.
The Wildcats were led by senior guard Abby Bayer with 19 points, including 11-of-12 from the free throw line and senior forward Jasa Bell with 13 points. For the game, Marion went to the line 36 times and made 27 while Massac County went only 12 times making seven for a 20-point differential.
"We work on playing down to the last minutes in practice a lot," Bayer said. "A lot of the games we’ve won have come down to who wanted it more and who’s going to leave everything out on the floor. My team stepped up because we weren’t ready to end yet."
Massac County (10-16) rallied from a 14-0 start to take an eight-point lead early in the fourth quarter. The Lady Patriots maintained that lead for 3:46 until the Wildcats made their run.
"We did what we normally do and kind of self-destructed again," said Massac County coach Jim Prevallet. "We didn’t take care of the ball and then we have our lulls when we go two, three, four minutes without scoring. We get good looks, but the bunnies we missed under the basket and throwing the ball away or at people’s feet, but if you would have seen us in October you would have thought maybe they might win a game or two. But we won 10 ballgames and I’m awful proud of them."
Daishen Wolaver got it going with a steal to set up Bayer for a fast break layup. Thirty seconds later Jordan Turner sank a 3-pointer and in a span of 70 seconds cut the lead to five with 1:46 remaining.
"We called a timeout and told them not to panic," Manfredo said. "We were able to get the ball inside and draw fouls. We then stepped up and made free throws super tonight. We usually shoot 60-65 percent, but tonight we shot 75 percent and I’ll take that any night,"
After Kendra Waldon extended the lead back to five Bell hit a jumper and Wolavede converted another steal into two free throws and the lead was down to one with 1:17 remaining.
Massac County then lost the ball out of bounds and Bell worked herself free under the basket and scored to give Marion its first lead, 50-49, since 45 seconds left in the third quarter.
Bayer then drew a foul and made her first free throw, but missed her second, her only miss of the game, to extend the lead to two with 33 seconds left in regulation.
Marion then threw the ball away and the Lady Patriots made them pay when Waldon grabbed a rebound and scored from under the basket with 14:4 remaining to tie the score at 51-51.