After watching United Township miss three straight shots in the final 5.3 seconds, Moline coach Tracy Sant Amour wanted to make sure she got two points across.
The first was Moline was fortunate to be going into overtime; the second was they had best take advantage of it.
From the opening minute of the overtime, which began with a fast-break Hannah Thiele layup off a long pass from Letecia Billups, Moline (5-3, 2-1 in the Big Six) never looked back. It helped that power forward Alannah Crompton turned into a point guard as Moline played the four corners to perfection. The end result was a night for Crompton and Moline to remember and a 58-50 victory over UT.
Crompton finished with 9 points, 16 rebounds and 7 assists. Two of the assists came on buckets by Billups and Megan Pittington in overtime that were sandwiched around Ryleigh O’Brien’s free throw for UT. They helped put Moline up 52-47 with less than two minutes to play in OT. But Crompton found her two teammates open because she drew attention driving the lane.
“We were kind of slow the whole game,” said Crompton. “And we really wanted that win. I just think that everybody had so much energy in overtime, and that’s really what led us to the win.”
Sant Amour may have seen that a little bit differently than her humble star.
“l love that kid,” Sant Amour said. “Seven assists, are you kidding me, from a post player? She can do it all. She can help us bring the ball up. She can play inside. She is completely selfless. Sixteen rebounds, seven assists … she doesn’t care about scoring as long as her team wins.
“I think she showed that at the end of that game and in overtime. She pretty much was in charge the whole overtime. We pretty much want the ball to be in her hands at the end of the game and overtime.”
Moline was led in scoring by Thiele’s 18, four in the overtime. Freshmen Bralee Trice added 14 and Pittington 11, four in overtime.
In a game that was close all the way, with Moline leading 14-10 after one quarter but trailing 21-19 at halftime and up 29-28 heading into the fourth, a young Panther team had to feel like it let this one get away.
A midcourt steal by freshman Izabella Sims (19 points) with 35.9 seconds left in regulation resulted in an intentional foul by Thiele, who clearly grabbed Sims’ jersey. Sims made one of two free throws to tie it at 46. The Panthers then milked the clock, with Sims firing from beyond the arc with about 4 seconds left. Brandi LaFountaine rebounded and missed a shot with the ball ending up in Ryleigh O’Brien’s hands from just outside the lane. But her shot from the left side missed as well, sending the game to overtime.
“Three opportunities to win the game,” lamented Panther coach Carie Walker. “You look back at it now… there was a lot of contact. But you are going to expect that late in the game. I am not saying anything negative that way. It seemed like a long five seconds, but we couldn’t get the shot to drop.”
UTHS (4-6, 1-2) played two sophomores (Jasmine Bell and Davianna Morgan) a lot besides freshman Sims.
“A lot of youth on the floor. There’s a few things late in the game we need to clean up,” Walker said. “And we are not going to wait until they are juniors and seniors.”
But it was Crompton’s night.
“I am definitely comfortable handling the ball,” she said. “I think that when you have such a great team around you, you are going to count on them.”
It certainly worked in overtime.