One free throw closes out Centre girls’ season
Three Centre turnovers and one Rural Vista free throw in the final minute of a semifinal substate game at Goessel on Thursday resulted in a 39-38 loss for the Lady Cougars.
The loss meant it was the final game for seniors Shelby Pankratz, Katie Marler, and Summer Espinoza.
The Lady Cougars started out slow, trailing 12-6 after one quarter. They trailed by 10 points in the second quarter before Pankratz made two baskets and Kelsey Hett made a 2-pointer and a free throw to bring Centre within 1 point, 16-15.
The Heat came back, however, to lead by 7 points at halftime.
The Lady Cougars were undaunted. They battled back as Kate Basore and Hett each made 6 points and Pankratz added 2 to bring Centre within 3 points.
The fourth quarter was a humdinger. Janel Dones and Emily Schlesener made baskets to keep the game close, and Katie Marler sunk a trey to give Centre a brief 37-36 lead with 2 minutes remaining.
Kelsey Hett fouled out and Rural Vista made 2 free throws to take back the lead. On Centre’s next possession, Basore missed a layup, but Pankratz rebounded and was fouled. She made 1 free throw to tie the game at 38-38.
Pankratz lost the ball on Centre’s next possession, but a Rural Vista charge against Schlesener returned the ball to Centre. On the inbound pass, a Rural Vista player stole the ball from Marler, who fouled the player who made the winning free throw.
Centre had 20 seconds to score again, but Pankratz lost the ball. Rural Vista zeroed out twice at the free throw line after that but handed Centre a 1-point loss.
The team ended the season with a record of 11-10.
After being the No. 1 seed and having a bye in the first round, the Cougars surprisingly were overwhelmed by Little River on Friday in the semifinals and lost, 61-44. They had beaten Little River early in the regular season.
Centre led by 5 points halfway through the first quarter on scores by Cole Srajer, Xavier Espinoza, and Cody Svoboda. But the Redskins gradually closed the gap, tying the game at 12-12.
From then on, the game belonged to Little River. Centre racked up fouls as the Redskins made 10 free throws and shot two 3-pointers. Dylan Deines and Srajer combined for 8 points, but Little River led, 32-23, at halftime.
The Cougars were outscored in the second half 29-21 to lose by 17 points. They finished the season with a record of 16-6.