Down to the Wire for Spa Catholic Girls' Basketball Friday
It was an ending fit for a Hallmark movie.
After being down by as much as 14 points at the end of the first quarter, the Spa Catholic girls’ basketball team battled its way back against a tough squad from Mayfield at home Friday night, closing within four points with three minutes left in the game before making the go-ahead shot at the 1:26 mark.
Up by two, the Saints were in control after a missed shot by the Panthers, in-bounding the ball with :41 left. But the Panthers rebounded after a missed three point shot by Myah Ondreyko in the right corner, and Nicole Little put in a layup with just seconds remaining, tying the score at 38-38 and potentially sending the game into overtime.
Spa Catholic brought the ball into play as the clock wound down, with sophomore Kaylie Fish driving almost the length of the court for an attempted layup at the buzzer, only to be fouled by Kylie Manoogian, who was also injured on the play.
So the game was tied 38-38 with no time left on the clock. Fish was coming to the line with two shots, but had to wait for the injured player to be treated and moved from the court. What was going through Fish’s mind? “I was a little nervous, because before I didn’t make any free throws, I think I was at 50% shooting.”
Fish stepped to the line, and missed the first of her two shots. The gym, which had been mostly silent, became much louder. “It was a lot of pressure, and then there were people in the stands yelling, and my teammates yelling and everything, and that made it even more pressure, and it was harder for me.”
With composure perhaps beyond her years, Fish shook off the missed first shot and calmly sank the second, giving Spa Catholic the win, 39-38.
“Next to the technical foul, I think it’s the most difficult,” said coach Steve Lombard. “With no time on the clock, nobody at the free throw line, now it totally changes the whole environment, with the win in your hands.”
Coach Steve Lombard drawing a fourth quarter play
The Saints were less in control at the start of the game. Mayfield owned the first quarter, outscoring the Saints 18-4, led by 10 points from senior Nicole Little (18 on the game). Spa Catholic began clawing their way back in the second with a balanced attack – four players each scored a basket to close the deficit to just eight by the half, 20-12.
“We have yet to put a full game together,” said coach Lombard. “And this is typically what we’ve done. We’ve either gotten up 8 or 10 points, or we get down 14. So I came down to the locker room and I said “lookit, I’m done telling you the same thing over and over again. Figure it out. And I sent them on their way.”
In the third quarter the Saints drew closer, out-scoring the Panthers 14-11. Fish said that level of play gave Spa Catholic more confidence in the last period. “We pulled it together during the fourth quarter, so I figured we could get it.”
And they did, with the shot made for a movie.
The victory celebration
Alayna Landalfo, 12 points
Kaylie Fish, 11 points
Natalie Pikus, 8 points
Myah Ondreyko, 4 points
Meghan Mensler, 2 points
Abbey Mensler, 2 points
Nicole Little, 18 points
Jen Little, 6 points
Miranda Eagan, 5 points
Alex Sheldon, 4 points
Kylie Manoogian, 2 points
Cailey Meca, 2 points
Killian Horney, 1 point
ON THE WIRE