Oh so close!
Lady Rebels lose 39-33 overtime heartbreaker to Hector in state quarterfinals
Cinderella Hector outscored Riverside 6-0 in overtime, ending the Lady Rebels' state tournament run with a 39-33 victory Friday afternoon at Marmaduke.
The Lady Wildcats, a four seed from the West, jumped ahead in the extra period on an inside bucket by Alyssa Millsaps, following a five second call against Riverside. Another Lady Rebel turnover led to a pair of free throws by Laken Stanek, pushing Hector's lead to 37-33.
Riverside went cold from the field and with less than a minute left to play was forced to foul, sending Stanek back to the line where the senior delivered on both ends of the one and one to push the Lady Wildcat lead to 39-33. Riverside misfired on a pair of three point attempts, and Hector pulled down the rebound and ran out the clock.
Hector jumped on top 5-0 to begin the game but Riverside rallied behind Bailey Fisher, who knocked down a pair of three pointers as the two teams finished the first break tied 10-all. The Lady Wildcats began the second period with an 8-0 run, sparked by back to back triples from Stanek and Cassidy Haley to take an 18-10 lead. Riverside battled back, scoring the last six points of the half, all by sophomore Haven Robertson, to pull to within 18-16 at intermission.
The Lady Wildcats outscored Riverside 5-2 to begin the third quarter, grabbing a 23-18 lead. The Lady Rebels fought back once again, going on a 5-0 run. Fisher ripped a three pointer from the left corner before Robertson's back door lay-in, off a nifty pass from Hattie Milligan, knotted the score 23-23 entering the final frame.
Riverside pulled ahead in the fourth quarter, 27-23, on a Milligan bucket at the 5:11 mark. Hector answered on a Darci Fountain three point bomb from 30-feet out to slice the deficit to 27-26 with 4:56 remaining. Robertson buried a three pointer to push Riverside's lead to 30-26, but the Lady Wildcats got back to back buckets from Paige Lee and Stanek to square things 30-all with 3:21 left. A Lee free throw and a Millsaps inside basket gave Hector a 33-30 advantage with 2:15 to go.
Riverside remained patient on offense, working the clock down to the 28 second mark before Robertson launched a high arching three pointer from beyond the top of the key that found nothing but net, tying the game at 33-33 and setting up the overtime period.
Robertson paced Riverside with 16 points. Fisher scored nine, Milligan had four while Brittany Sain and Carson Smith added two points apiece. The Lady Rebels finished 4-4 from the foul line and nailed five three pointers.
Millsaps and Stanek topped Hector with 11 points each. The Lady Wildcats made 7-10 free throws and drained four three pointers.
"Hector really hurt us on the boards," said Riverside Coach Spencer Hoffman. "Their guards are long, which gave us trouble. Their post players were strong and they hurt us on the boards. Hector has an experienced team and I think our youth showed up a little bit. But I never, ever felt like our resolve had been broken. We just continued to battle and battle and battle. That's been the theme of this team all year - resiliency. They came into practice every day with a mentality to get better, and that's what we did. Wow! What a run, what a run. Their seniors made some big plays and you just have to tip your cap to them. Hector did a great job. They are well coached and they are a heck of a basketball team."
Hoffman heaped praise on the Rebel fans and students. "Our community and our student section got behind this basketball team. I had numerous people in the community tell me how much fun these girls were to come and watch. They knew every night these players would give their best effort and that's what this group brought to every game," Hoffman concluded.
In Thursday's first round action Riverside canned 10 three pointers and went on to smoke Mountain Pine, 60-37. Fisher pumped in a game high 21 points, including five treys, to pace the Lady Rebels. Sain also had a big day, scoring 20 points while Milligan added 10.