CARBONDALE — Bailey Koester’s basket with 5.3 seconds left lifted Carterville to a 41-39 win over Marion in the second game of the opening night of the 38th Annual Carbondale Mid-Winter Girls Basketball Classic Monday.
"I was pretty nervous, but I’ve been up in Peoria at the state tournament (in softball), so I know what pressure is like and how to come through for my team," Koester said. "Once I got the ball I honestly don’t recall what was going on around me because it was kind of an intense moment. When I took the shot all I was thinking was ‘I got to hit the square’ and when it went in it was pure relief."
Marion was leading 39-37 with 41.3 seconds left after Cassandra Woods had just made two free throws. Carterville then methodically passed the ball around until Megan Barrett found an opening in the lane to tie the score with 15.7 seconds left.
"We played really well," said Marion coach Chris Roberts. "We just have to figure out a way to win."
On the in-bounds play Anna Billngsley tipped the ball and McKenzie Rogman forced a jump ball to give the ball back to Carterville on the possession arrow. After a timeout Marion contested Billingsley’s throw-in to Jeniah Thompson in the right corner knocking the ball out-of-bounds.
"We set up thinking they were zone and they came out in man, so the play didn’t work," said Carterville coach Matt Crain.
On the second throw-in Billingsley found Koester under the basket on the left side and the senior made no mistake to give the Lady Lions the lead.
"They stayed in man, so we called one of our man plays and ran it absolutely correct to get a clean shot right inside the block," Crain said.
Abby Bayer, who led Marion with 20 points and 10 steals, attempted a long 3-pointer from just outside the mid-court stripe as the buzzer sounded but it was short.
"It wasn’t a pretty game," Crain said. "We haven’t played in a week, but I have to give Marion credit. They played hard defensively and stretched us out a little bit to make it difficult. We were sluggish early, but found it towards the end."
In the third game, Carbondale blew out Massac County, 49-20. The Terriers led 19-7 after the first quarter and 28-16 at the half. The second half was all Carbondale holding the Lady Patriots to just four points, including none in the fourth quarter. Megan Barton led the Terriers with 20-points with Johnecia Kyles adding 12.
In the opening game, Mount Vernon held a seven-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter before Mascoutah rallied with a 15-8 run to send the game into overtime.
After both teams scored just two points in the first overtime period the Lady Rams broke out in the second four-minutes to win the game 55-47. Lauren Heinzman led Mount Vernon with 17 points, including 13-of-21 from the free throw line.