In a thrilling game that was eventually won by the Riverside Lady Rebels in double overtime, the Lady Cougars had two three-point deficit comebacks to tie the contest and a chance for a third.
Trailing Riverside by two points, 45-43 with just over a minute to play in regulation, Rector's Toby Morris swished a three which gave the Lady Cougars a 46-45 lead. A free throw by Amanda Dunigan and a bucket by Keryn Douglas gave the Lady Rebels a two-point, 48-46 lead. Lyndsey Bell scored in the paint with :05 on the clock and sent the game into the first overtime period.
Morris and the Lady Cougars pulled out their second three-point miracle in the waning seconds of the first OT frame. Baskets by Douglas, Amy Barrett and Dunigan gave Riverside a 56-53 lead with less than one minute to play. Morris then launched a trey from the right wing that hit nothing but net and sent the game into the second overtime period.
Rector almost pulled out a third miracle with :04 remaining in the second overtime. With the Lady Cougars in the lead, 62-59, Riverside's Douglas connected on three-pointer that was followed by a steal and a layup by Barrett with seven ticks on the clock. Down by two, 64-62, Rector quickly called for a time-out to set up a play.
Morris was again called upon.
With :04 on the clock, Morris attempted yet another three pointer from the right wing, but the shot was no good; however, Morris was miraculously fouled on the play.
Shooting three free throws, the Lady Cougars had a chance to tie and/or win. But this time it was the Lady Rebels who had luck on their side.
Morris' first free throw failed. Her second shot fell in, which closed the gap to one, 64-63. Her second shot bounced off the rim and Riverside had pulled out the victory.
Coaches Robinson and Rainwater both lauded the Lady Cougars' valiant and amazing effort.
"I give all the (credit) to them (Rector)," coach Rainwater said after addressing his team following the 40-minute marathon struggle.
"They hit key shots when they needed to," he said. "We squandered a big lead in the second quarter, but fortunately we were able to pull it out."
An exhausted Shane Robinson said, "It doesn't get anymore exciting than this. Double overtime in the NEA after dramatic comebacks like this, it was just wild."
Rector trailed 17-10 at the end of the first period of play. An intense pressure defense by the Lady Rebels helped increase their lead through most of the second quarter. Late in first half, Jessica Hill led a Cougar that cut the Riverside lead to four, 29-25, at the halftime intermission.
At the 2:21 point of the third quarter, Rector's Fallon Robins nailed a three that gave Rector their second lead of the night. Keryn Douglas' drive through the lane have the Lady Rebels a 36-35 advantage heading into the final quarter.
"We really stepped up and hit some clutch buckets," coach Robinson added. "I was very impressed by how our girls stepped up and did what they had to do.
Jessica (Hill) hit some key free throws and Toby (Morris) hit those threes.
It built their confidence up, unfortunately in the end, we came up a point short, but Riverside is a very talented team and is very well-coached. They did a lot of things well, but I thought we did too."
Jessica Hill led the Lady Cougars in scoring with 22 points. Fallon Robins added 12 with Lyndsey Bell tossing in 11. Also scoring in the effort were; Toby Morris with seven, Sara Parmenter with five Angelia Tucker with four and Danielle Rose with one.
Riverside's Keryn Douglas led all scorers on the night with 26 points. Melody Ward added ten, Amanda Dunigan and Chelsea Couch both netted eight, Amy Barrett tallied four, Heather Shasteen tossed in three and Kayla Stevens and Hailey Faulkner notched two. Miranda Stephens contributed one.
Riverside advanced to play Tuckerman in second round action on Wednesday.