At the end of regulation during the Hartville Lady Eagles’ championship game with Salem in the Norwood Lady Pirate Invitational, McKinley Sanders was unable to hit on two of her contested shots before time expired, which could have ended the contest.
Fortunately, she would get another opportunity at the end of the overtime session. First, Salem drew a foul with 3.3 seconds left. The Lady Tigers took a 51-50 lead on the first made free throw before missing a second attempt.
Hartville’s Kaylee Ferguson pulled down the rebound and Coach Steve Sanders called a quick timeout with 3.1 seconds left.
Starting on the baseline, Molly Brown passed the ball up to McKinley Sanders, who took a step just past half-court when she launched a long 3-point shot that went in at the buzzer, sending Sanders’ teammates into a frenzy as Hartville won the Norwood title, 53-51.
“After we had two good shots rattle off to end regulation, I started to hope for something crazy to happen,” said Coach Sanders.
“Her teammates, Molly set the break and it was fortunate for all of us for (McKinley) to make that shot.”
It was a big win for a Lady Eagles squad that lost to Willow Springs in the finals one year earlier.
Against the Lady Tigers, neither team did much scoring early in the first quarter. They combined to make just 3-of-16 shots from the field in a 5-3 contest.
Though Hartville had started with a 5-0 run, Salem responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead before the game was tied at 7-7.
In the second quarter, Brown hit a 3-pointer to start an 11-2 run helping the Lady Eagles take an 18-9 lead.
Sanders scored eight points in the frame as Hartville led 27-19 at halftime.
The Lady Tigers climbed back in the game in the third as Hartville missed their first four shots from the field.
The Lady Tigers had a 9-2 run, closing the gap to one late in the frame.
Sanders responded with a big 3-point play as Hartville led by three entering the fourth quarter.
Salem had three, 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
In overtime, Jenna Kelley scored four big points, helping the Lady Eagles to take a four-point edge at one point. This before Salem took the lead late, setting up Sanders’ end of the game heroics.
McKinley Sanders went on to be named the tournament MVP as she finished the championship game with 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block.
Brown was also named to the All-Tournament team as she had 11 points, six rebounds and three assists. Kelley added 12 points, four rebounds, one steal and one assist; Ferguson had two points, five rebounds and one assist; and Kylie Harris had two points, three assists, two steals and one rebound. Hartville made 23-of-39 shots from the field in the win.
In the semifinals, it was rivalry match-up with Mansfield for the Lady Eagles. Hartville held a slim 10-6 first quarter edge before Sanders’ eight points helped them take a seven point edge into halftime. Mansfield responded in the third to close the gap to 29-25 before Hartville’s 16-4 run in the final frame behind two Brown 3-pointers and Sanders’ five points in a 45-29 win.
Sanders finished the game with 20 points. Brown had 12 points, Harris scored seven points and Kelley had six points.
In the first round, the Lady Eagles struggled to find their groove throughout the match-up with Norwood.
Their lead was just 13-11 at halftime before outscoring the Lady Pirates 24-16 in the second half to pick up a 37-27 win.
Sanders finished with 16 points for the Hartville Lady Eagles. Ferguson, Brown and Kelley each had six points; and Hannah Keith scored three points.