MURPHYSBORO — Kelby Weber made her first and last free throws in the last minute of the overtime period to give Herrin a 42-40 win over Murphysboro in a River-to-River Ohio Division girls basketball game Tuesday night at Memorial Gymnasium.
“I missed a few, but I made enough to give us the win,” Weber said. “I’m normally much better than that, but tonight I was just off for some reason. Shooting free throws is a rollercoaster. After missing four in a row, I was so relieved to make the last one.”
Herrin improved to 3-3 on the season and moved past Murphysboro for third place in the conference standings with a 1-1 record. Murphysboro dropped to 1-2 in the conference and 1-6 overall.
“It looked good for us early, but I have to do a better job of getting my players a little rest because I think they ran out of steam,” said Murphysboro coach Webster McGuire.
Madisyn Blankenship led Herrin with 14 points and Layla Wade added 11, with six rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals. Ashley Jarrett led Murphysboro with 14 points and eight rebounds, with Emerald Hardimon adding 13 points and six rebounds.
“We didn’t play very well in the first quarter and they shot the ball very well, but we leaned hard on our older kids and our defense shut them down in the second quarter,” said Herrin coach Chris Roberts. “We’re very young — starting two sophomores and one freshman — and I thought they stepped up. We’ve got to make some free throws down the stretch, but that comes with learning."
Island Dooley rallied Murphysboro from a four-point deficit in regulation on a jumper from the left corner with 44.6 seconds left. She then stole an inbounds pass near midcourt and scoring on a layup to tie the game while being fouled. But the junior guard missed the potential game-winning free throw when it bounced off the left side of the rim.
Madison LaBranche won the overtime tipoff to Dooley who passed to Jarrett for a jumper from the left side. Blankenship tied the score again 26 seconds later on a layup.
After a Murphysboro timeout Jarrett was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the ball ricocheted off the front of the rim right back to her. Jarrett took the shot from the free throw line and missed it, but Hardimon grabbed the rebound and scored to give the Red Devils a 40-38 lead with 1:46 left.
Blankenship tied the score again 14 seconds later, setting up the final minute. Weber got it started when she was fouled by Dooley with 54.2 seconds remaining. The sophomore made her first shot to regain the lead, but missed her second.
Weber then stole in the inbounds pass, prompting Herrin to call a timeout with 30.1 remaining. After the timeout, Herrin ran another 12.2 seconds off when Weber was fouled again. This time she missed the front end, and LaBranche got the rebound and fed it to Jarrett, who was immediately fouled. The junior also missed front end, leaving Herrin with a one-point lead with 13.8 seconds remaining.
Weber pulled down the rebound and was fouled, but she missed the front end again. This time, Lehnhoff grabbed the rebound and returned the ball to Weber, who was fouled again with 7.9 seconds left, putting Herrin into the double bonus.
Weber missed the first free throw, but sank her second to extend the lead to two. Herrin then called a timeout to set up its final defensive strategy.
Murphysboro worked the ball down the court trying to get an open shot, but the Herrin defense wouldn’t let them get close. With time running out, Hardimon launched the ball from about five feet inside the midcourt line, but the shot hit the backboard and rattled off the front of the rim.
“I thought it was going in,” McGuire said. “I told them to get the ball in and if they pressure her to try to get it up court and look to attack the rim. But we didn’t get it up fast enough, so we had to throw a three up.”
Murphysboro led 15-8 after the first quarter, after hitting six of their first eight shots. They stretched the lead to nine on a layup by Jarrett with 6:39 remaining in the first half. Herrin then went on a 13-2 run, ending with a 3-point basket by McKinnies to take their first lead at 21-19 at the half.
Herrin extended its lead to seven with 3:30 left in the third quarter, but Murphysboro cut the lad to three on a four-point play when Jarrett made 2-of-3 free throws and LaBranche scored on the rebound of her miss.
Herrin led by four heading into the fourth quarter, and Dooley cut the lead to one on a 3-pointer from the right side.