Basketball's fun again for Clinton girls

BETHANY — Some would call it an inconsequential point.

For the record, it was number 49. It came in the final 90 seconds of Clinton’s 19-point win against Heyworth in Friday’s semifinal of the Okaw Valley Tournament.

Free throws hadn’t been kind to Morgan Hickman, Clinton’s lone senior, so she launched an underhanded attempt for her fourth trip to the line. It went in.

She missed the next, and 1:26 later the Maroons (15-2) had prevailed, 51-32.

“I think too much when I shoot regular free throws,” Hickman said.

She didn’t mind being different. “I was embarrassed anyway,” she said, referring to a previous airball from the line.

The Maroons didn’t embarrass themselves, recovering from an early 6-1 deficit and taking control for good on a three-pointer by Haley Toohill, 17-15, with 4:43 left in the second quarter.

Jessica Scott led Clinton with 14 points. Toohill had 10 and Hickman finished with eight. She was 2 for 8 from the free throw line, 1 for 3 on underhanded tosses.

“It has been a long time since Clinton has had success in girls’ basketball,” Maroons coach Josh Williams said. “We feel like we’re getting them there. I couldn’t be happier where we’re going.”

Next up is today’s 8 p.m. championship showdown against Mount Pulaski (14-2), which handed Sullivan a 60-40 loss.

Brittin Boyer had a double-double for Sullivan (11 points, 11 rebounds) and teammate Emily Neuhauser had 14 points.

“They outplayed us, and they outhustled us,” Sullivan coach Sheri McCain said.

Heritage 50, Blue Ridge 21
Two short-handed teams — each without their head coach — started strong, making the first eight combined shots and playing to a 10-10 tie less than 31/2 minutes into the game.

Heritage’s Dallas McCormick hit two three-pointers en route to a 10-point first quarter as the Hawks (10-6) pulled away for assistant coach Ashley Krisman. She filled in for Kami White, who has the flu.

“When she scores, we win,” Krisman said. “It was nice to see her score early.”

Coincidentally, Krisman did her student teaching under Wayne Brown, who was the Blue Ridge interim coach in the absence of head coach Stephanie Schroeder, who is at a wedding.

“I’ve had enough JV games,” Krisman said. “I wasn’t too nervous.”

Blue Ridge was missing three starters, who left Friday on a band trip. A fourth regular, Jamison Brandt, was injured and her status for today’s game wasn’t immediately known. The Knights had seven players in uniform. Heritage had eight.

“When they ran out, I thought, ‘We’re pretty evenly matched,’ ” Krisman said.

Mary Happ hit 8 of 10 first-half free throws and led Heritage with 16 points and five rebounds.

McCormick added 15 points.

Shaila Quinn led Blue Ridge (5-11) with six points and seven rebounds.

Tri-County 53, Okaw Valley 28
The Titans made their only two three-pointers — by Whitney Bennett and Autumn Meyer — to open the second quarter.

Meyer is settling into the point guard role instead of feeling the need to be the main scoring option. She shot the ball nine times while getting it inside to Kyla Skinner and Abby Smith (15 points apiece) for a combined 23 shots.

“She had some awesome dishes,” Titans coach Joe Morrissey said. “Last year she thought she had to score. Now she realizes if she passes and distributes it’s as important. She is becoming a true point guard, getting it to other people.”

When the Timberwolves pressed, she brought the ball upcourt, scooting past as many as four defenders.

“She’s so quick, and being left-handed, she’s hard to press,” Morrissey said.

Smith (14 rebounds) and Skinner (13 rebounds) took care of the boards as Tri-County had as many rebounds as points.

Decatur Lutheran 46, Argenta-Oreana 42
In one of the most unique comebacks in tournament history, Decatur Lutheran missed its first 28 shots from the field and fell behind the Bombers 15-1 with less than three minutes left in the first half before regrouping for its fourth win of the season.

Kandie Bloch’s double-double (24 points, 11 rebounds) led A-O (6-8). Teammate Katlyn Gibson had 10 rebounds.

“We didn’t play as a team,” A-O coach Jeff Shumate said. “We played as individuals. We took this team for granted and looked past them.”

T-Town JV 40, Arthur-Lovington/A-H 39
Sherelle Coller made a three-pointer in every quarter and the Lancers (7-4) hit 7 of 7 fourth-quarter free throws but couldn’t hold off the Teutopolis junior varsity, which overcame a five-point deficit in the final 21/2 minutes.

“We couldn’t rebound, and we couldn’t stop them when we needed to,” A-L/A-H coach Jenni Marner said. “It wasn’t just the fourth quarter. We didn’t play well.”

Coller scored 16 points. Teammate Karly Goodman, who missed a last-second shot, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

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