ALLIANCE – Two Federal League teams will match up in a district semifinal at the Alliance Girl’s Division I district tournament – but not the two many were expecting.
The district’s No. 2-seed Canton McKinley held form with a 57-44 win over Louisville, but fourth seed Uniontown Lake was upset by conference rival Massillon Perry in a double overtime thriller 48-47.
“I’m waiting for my heartbeat to come back down to normal,” said Perry head coach Mark Randulic after his Panthers pulled the upset that required not one, but two buzzer beaters.
After Lake took the lead 47-46 with only 12 seconds left in double overtime on a three pointer by Jordan Jenkins, it appeared the Blue Streaks would survive to defeat Perry for the third time this season. However, sophomore Jasmyne Kirksey finally sent the Panther fans home happy with a lay-up in the final second to cap off a wild afternoon.
“They say third time’s a charm and it certainly was for us today,” said a still out of breath Randulic after the game. “Jasmyne, our young kid came up huge in the biggest moment.”
The sophomore’s heroics couldn’t have happened though without the efforts of the Perry seniors. Jacquelyn Randulic helped pace the Panthers through the early stages of the game, scoring seven in the first quarter and finished with 16. Courtney Ingersol struggled mightily through the first 31minutes and 59 seconds of the game, but came up with the biggest plays down the home stretch.
Ingersol had only two points in the game and had yet to make a field goal until she found the ball in her hands with her team down two and only four seconds left in regulation.
“I didn’t want to go out on that note,” said Ingersol. “When a second opportunity presents itself you have to take it.”
And take it she did.
Ingersol drove the lane and missed her running jump shot, but had the perseverance to gather in her own rebound and put the ball back in the hoop to tie the game as time ran out in regulation.
Ingersol would again step up in the final seconds of overtime, this time on the defensive end of the floor. With the game tied at 39, Lake’s Lauren Meyers came up with a steal and was driving toward the hoop for a possible winning lay-up, when Ingersol came from behind and blocked the attempt, forcing a second overtime.
The hot hand continued in the second extra session. Lake took a quick lead off a three point shot by Jenkins, but Ingersol came up with the answer the next time down the floor to knot the game. She also briefly put the Panther’s back ahead on a jump shot with 29 seconds, before Jenkins’ three shot and Kirksey’s heroics.
Perry’s defense, all game long, kept in check a usually sharp shooting Lake team. However, after Lake hit two of their first three point shots in the game, they missed their next ten, shooting just 2-for-13 from three point range in the first half.
“We haven’t had a game in two weeks, so we had a lot of practice time,” said Coach Randulic. “We spent a lot of that time defensively. Lake is a very good three point shooting team and we felt they’d catch fire eventually, which the did in the second half, but we did a good job cutting down any good looks.”
Led by the play of Randulic in the first half, Perry built up a 31-27 lead into the early moments of the fourth quarter. After The Blue Streaks were able to tie the game, Lake head coach Thom Grubb attempted to stall out the game.
Starting at the 5:20 mark in the fourth, Lake held the ball motionless trying to wait until they could take the last shot. Finally with 2:46 to go, Coach Randulic had his girls start pressing defensively to force the action.
“They would’ve (ran the clock all the way down),” believes Randulic. “We’re not as experienced as them in postseason … so we felt we had to make them attack the basket.”
Even though Lake did take the lead on a shot from Brandy Gang, Perry had enough time to work there way down and finally get Ingersol’s tying shot.
“At practices, last night, and before the game we all stressed team,” said Ingersol. “We had to have a team effort to win.”
Another team effort will be needed for Perry as they are set to face the Canton McKinley Bulldogs in a district semifinal. McKinley got 18 points from Porsche Poole and 13 from Orlandriea Kirksey as they fought off the Louisville Leopards 57-44 in the second game of the day.
Poole, the Michigan State recruit, was able to lead her team to victory despite playing through foul trouble, and leaving in the third quarter with a groin injury.
McKinley seemed to be able to pull away early going up 12 midway through the second quarter, when Louisville pulled off the rare seven-point play.
Louisville’s Julie Conley was at the foul line trying to complete a three-point play, she missed her shot but McKinley was called for a lane violation. This drew a technical foul call on the Bulldog bench. Amanda Jaeb hit both technical foul shots, and then two more foul shot after the inbound. During the game, Jaeb would become the all time leading scorer at Louisville.
“The foul count was real lopsided at that point,” claimed McKinley head coach Pam Davis. “I think though it got our team rallied up. We may have lost a couple points there but it got us fired up for the rest of the game.
The Bulldogs stretched the lead back to 12 by halftime and after coming out of the break, tightened up the defensive clamps.
Jaeb, who had 15 points at halftime, was controlled by the McKinley guards the entire second half and kept without a field goal. The McKinley defense as a team held Louisville to only three made field goals the entire second half.
“We knew they were a three point shooting team,” said Coach Davis. “We played more extended and really got out and played the perimeter well. We were able to maintain the control and tempo.”
Despite the tough McKinley defense, Louisville was able to cut two points off McKinley’s lead heading into the fourth, taking advantage of Poole’s time off the floor. However, once she re-entered in the fourth, Poole took control as she scored six points in the quarter as her team pulled away to ice the victory. Poole also had seven rebounds on the afternoon.