HERRIN — Karly Stanowski made two free throws with seven seconds left to complete a second half rally that saw Nashville erase a 12-point Herrin lead to beat the Tigers, 43-41, in a River-to-River cross-conference girls basketball battle Thursday.
"She hit me pretty good to keep me from making an easy basket," Stanowski said. "I knew they were going to call a timeout to mess me up, but coach always tell us you have to think like you’re going to make it. My dad always tells me you have to cool going up the line and act like nothing’s happening."
Herrin (4-5) had trouble at the line, making only 8-of-17 attempts, while Nashville made 13-of-18. With less than two minutes to play the Tigers missed three of four free throws when they were trying to extend the lead.
"You look at close game like this and they are always won by free throws, and we weren’t very good down the stretch," said Herrin coach Bill Green.
Nashville's Paige Kasten sank her fifth 3-pointer of the game from the right corner with 53.8 left to tie the game at 41 for third time in the game for the Hornettes (6-2).
"I had missed a few 3-pointers, but Coach Althoff told me I had to keep shooting," Kasten said. "So I told myself I had to suck it up and make a shot for my team."
After a Hornettes timeout, Chelsea Smith drew a foul and was sent to the line for Herrin for a one-and-one, but missed her first attempt, giving the ball back to Nashville to set up the winning play.
"Early we couldn’t hit a shot," said Nashville coach Doug Althoff. "When we miss early it’s harder to make shots, and then we weren’t getting any touches inside, so they could extend their zone to cover us outside. The turning point came when we started to put full-court pressure on them late in the third."
The Hornettes worked the clock downs to under 10 seconds when Stanowski got the ball near the end line and drew a hard foul by Smith as she attempted to take a shot. Stanowski swished her first attempt and her second fell in to give Herrin its first lead.
Makayla Smothers took the in-bounds pass for Herrin and drove the length of the court and was just about to send the game into overtime when Kasten stole the ball out of her hands to seal the win.
"I don’t know how I got the ball," Kasten said. "Coach Althoff said to turn her and keep her away from the basket ... I was lucky she had the ball far enough away from her body so I could grab it."
Herrin (4-5) held a six-point lead in the first quarter, but Kasten swished her second 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the lead to 12-9. Janie Holle opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 12, but a 3-pointer by Smothers regained the lead for Herrin.
Smothers put back her missed shot to open the third quarter to start a 12-4 run to open up a 12-point lead. Herrin was still leading by 12 with 2:56 remaining in the third quarter when Libby Ahlers hit a 3-pointer to start the Hornettes’ rally to cut the lead ton eight going into the fourth quarter.
Stanowski made two free throws to open the fourth and Holle pulled down a rebound and scored to keep the rally going. With 6:04 left, Hannah Groutage committed her fifth foul sending Ahlers to the line for three free throws. The sophomore guard missed the first and third attempts to leave Nashville down by three.
A minute later, Kasten canned a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 35. A fastbreak layup by Maggie Connor regained the lead for Herrin and after Ahlers missed the front end of a one-and-one, Connor went to line and made her first, but missed her second to extend the lead to three.
Connor was fouled again two minutes later and this time made both to give Herrin a 40-35 lead with 2:16 remaining.
A 3-pointer by Holle cut the lead to two with 2:04 left. Nashville then fouled twice sending Smothers to the line with 1:53 left, but she missed the front end. Emma Deaton was fouled next and she made her first, but missed her second to leave Herrin up by three with 1:11 left.