Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Junior High Girls Down Falcons in Frantic Finish

It looked like Worth County’s junior high girls would finally replicate their easy win over St. Gregory’s and get their third win of the year. But it did not happen without a frantic finish at the end as the girls lost the lead and then regained it and won 24-20.

Worth County finally started clicking on offense after a sleepy first half which saw neither team take control. Jill Hardy scored off a drive and Allison Larison scored off a Megan Cassavaugh steal to erase a 10-9 Falcon lead and put Worth County up 13-10. Cassidy Spire threw up a prayer for the Falcons to cut it to one, but the Tigers took control with consecutive steals in the final 21 seconds as Braidy Hunt scored off a Cassavaugh steal and Cassavaugh scored off a Hunt steal to make it 17-12. Jill Hardy then stripped a Falcon player, which led to a Cassavaugh jumper early in the fourth to make it 19-12.

But then with a screaming Falcon crowd egging them on, the Falcons started swarming, pressing, and trapping like they did to beat North Nodaway the week before and erased all of Worth County’s lead in just 1:32. They started making use of their size as well, with Ashlyn Alexander hitting two free throws and getting a putback and Tori Allen scoring off a steal. Finally, the Falcons got a steal off the press and Rylee Vierthaler (daughter of the dentist who practiced below the bank building in Grant City for a few years) converted with a putback to make it 20-19 with 1:30 left as the Falcons took the lead.

Worth County got the ball to Maddie Taute in the high post; the Tiger forward had been missed (knee) and was showing plenty of rust. The high post had been shut off all night, but all of a sudden, Taute found Jill Hardy on the left baseline and she drove in and put it off the glass to put Worth County back up 21-20.

St. Gregory’s got the ball to Anastyn Pettlon on the left side and she had a good look, but she airmailed the shot to Allison Larison on the other side, and the Tiger guard took it coast to coast the other way, where she was hammered by Tori Allen for a two shot foul. It was Allen’s fifth foul, which was a blow, since she was one of their main sparkplugs. Larison made one of two with 54 seconds left to make it 22-20.

Worth County pressed hard on the ensuing possession and forced a backcourt violation. St. Gregory’s had only four fouls, so Worth County was able to bleed 22 seconds off the clock before they could finally put Worth County on the line. Megan Cassavaugh missed the ensuing 1 and 1 with 21 seconds, and St. Gregory’s raced down the floor with a chance to tie or win. There was a heartstopping moment when Kennedy Kurz took it straight down the middle for a layup attempt, but it was heavily contested and well off the mark as Allison Larison secured the board and hit both free throws with 12 seconds left to clinch the win.

Jill Hardy had 11 points, keeping Worth County in the game with seven during the first half snoozefest. Megan Cassavaugh had 6, Allison Larison 5, and Braidy Hunt 2. Larison had 10 tips on defense. Megan Cassavaugh had 8, Braidy Hunt 5, Jill Hardy 4, and Anna Spainhower 1.

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