Freshman Rogers key to Lakota East win
After the game, Lakota East freshman Sam Rogers admitted she had never been as nervous as she was on the free throw line in overtime.
Her team led 54-53 with 28.2 seconds left, and she had just missed the front half of a one-and-one on the Thunderhawks’ last possession.
“I was really nervous and was shaking pretty bad, but I knew we needed them,” Rogers said. “I had to put them in the basket.”
Again, facing a one-and-one, Rogers swished the first and did it again on her second attempt.
Then, with 11.4 seconds left, Rogers sealed the 57-53 win after she made one of two of her free throw attempts.
Overall, Rogers scored 16 of her career-high 20 points in the second half and in overtime.
“A lot of times people panic in moments of pressure, and she kind of embraces it,” Lakota East head coach Nikki Drew said.
“The entire time that she has been with us, she hasn’t played like a freshman. She plays very mature basketball. She is smart, coachable, and she is not afraid.”
McNicholas, No. 7 in the Enquirer Division II-IV coaches’ poll, appeared well on its way to snapping a two-game losing streak, leading Lakota East by a score of 39-25 with only a few seconds left in the third quarter.
However, Rogers then made a two-point buzzer beater on the baseline to end the third quarter, and East, led by a pressuring defense, rallied to take a 42-41 lead with four minutes left in the final frame of regulation.
“When our team gets in that panic mode, we mentally lose it,” McNicholas head coach Gregg Flammer said. “We were playing hard, making plays, but our mistakes just tend to build on each other before we could regroup.”
The two teams then traded the lead four times before locking up at 47-47 with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter.
Lakota East held the ball before sophomore point guard Leah Goodwin made a 3-pointer to give the Thunderhawks’ a 50-47 advantage with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
McNicholas quickly answered as junior forward Maddie White made her only field goal of the game when she nailed a 3-pointer with three seconds left to send the game to overtime.
It wasn’t the only big shot made by the Rockets, however, as junior guard Hannah Taylor launched a 40-foot prayer that got nothing but net at the buzzer before halftime.The shoot gave the Rockets a 30-19 lead.
Not only did Taylor score the last field goal of the first half, she also scored the first basket of the game and helped McNicholas jump out to an early 19-9 lead with 10 points in the first quarter.
Overall, in the first half, Taylor made 7-of-9 of her field goal attempts, 2-of-2 from three, 1-of-1 from the free throw stripe, while pulling down four rebounds. She would finish the game with a career high 26 points and nine rebounds.
The two teams started the 2012-2013 season differently. East, which is comprised of eight sophomores, two freshmen and one junior, lost its first five games, while McNicholas won its first five.
The overtime win improves the Thunderhawks’ record to 4-8, while the loss drops the Rockets’ record to 6-4.
“It is a New Year, so it is a new start,” Rogers said of the Lakota East’s first game of 2013. “We are just going to try to bring our record up and start over – start fresh and try to keep this going.”
McNicholas (6-4) – Collette 1 1 3, Sheshull 2 0 4, White 1 1 4, Rogers 2 0 4, Taylor 11 2 26, Danker 3 0 6, Ramey 1 0 2, Lamping 2 0 4. Totals 23 4 53.
Lakota East (4-8) – Satterwhite 4 3 11, Rodgers 7 5 20, Goodwin 4 2 13, White 2 2 6, Thomas 1 1 3, Panzeca 1 0 2, Franklin 1 0 2. Totals 20 13 57.
3-pointers: M 3 (White, Taylor 2); L 4 (Rodgers, Goodwin 3).