By Matt Goisman
WILBURTON — Few fans braved the snow to watch Wilburton’s Homecoming games against Hartshorne on Friday,
Those who did were rewarded with a thriller of a girls’ basketball game.
Danielle Morgan scored 31 points for Hartshorne, and the Lady Miners overcame deficits of 18 and then 8 points before beating the Lady Diggers in overtime, 63-59.
“It was just a typical Hartshorne-Wilburton battle,” Hartshorne coach Danny Stone said.
“We just kept chipping away, chipping away. I kept telling my kids, ‘All we want to do is have a chance, have a chance in the last two minutes of the basketball game.’”
Wilburton struck first in overtime, with Brooke Saxon stealing a pass, drawing a foul on the fast break and sinking two free throws for a 55-53 lead. But on the opposite end Morgan drew a double-team, then found Marayah McMillan in the low-post for a game-tying layup.
Two free throws from Sabrina Stanford gave Wilburton another lead, but again Hartshorne answered, this time with McMillan finding Sarah Stiltner for a 3-pointer that gave Wilburton a 59-58 lead with 1:54 left in the game.
A free throw by Christine Sockey (11 points) tied the game with less than a minute left, her foul also sending Stiltner to the bench with five. But freshman Madison Semeski came in for Stiltner, drew a foul and made her first free throw.
Semeski missed her second, but McMillan grabbed an offensive rebound. Morgan ended up at the foul line and went 1-for-2 for a 61-59 lead with 16.7 seconds left.
Though the Lady Miners had struggled to control defensive rebounds throughout overtime, Morgan grabbed a defensive rebound on Wilburton’s next possession. Morgan got the ball to Korie Edwards, another freshman, who drew a foul and shot 2-2 for a two-possession lead with 7.7 seconds left.
“I had three freshmen come into the game that hadn’t seen the floor and hit big free throws down the line,” Stone said. “It was a great basketball game.”
The win completed a night in which Hartshorne fell behind 24-6 midway through the second quarter. The comeback began with Morgan scoring 6 points in a row, including a sequence in which she picked off a pass, drove the length of the court and just beat the buzzer with a layup to make it 27-18 Wilburton at halftime.
“We have kids that can score and help her out, but we go like Danielle goes,” Stone said of Morgan.
McMillan’s score off an offensive rebound made it a 7-point game early in the third, but Sam Vanderburg sank two free throws and Michie
Sokolosky (12 points) scored off an offensive rebound. Hartshorne answered with a free throw from Morgan and a 3-pointer by Sam Horne, then McMillan grabbed a defensive rebound, went coast-to-coast, scored, drew a foul and sank it to make it 31-27 Wilburton.
“We were trying to be more an inside-outside look, and we went to more of a perimeter look (in the second half),” Stone said. “Started running basket cuts and running angles, and just tried to find those seems and get those shooters away.”
Stiltner buried another 3-pointer later in the third, and Hartshorne tied the game 33-33 with 48 seconds left in the quarter on a floater by Morgan.
“They were very aggressive on the boards, and we didn’t match their intensity at times,” Wilburton coach Justin Lowder said.
“We’ll play well in spurts. We’ll be good for six minutes, then we take a break for two minutes, and you can’t do that against teams and allow them to get back into games.”
Sokolosky’s layup gave Wilburton an 8-point lead in the fourth, but Horne knocked down three 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the game to tie the game 53-53 heading into overtime. Horne scored 15 points for the Lady Miners, shooting 5-for-13 from 3-point range but looking far more accurate in the second half.
“At first I wasn’t setting my hand right on the ball,” Horne said. “But then I was starting to get more confident, so I was following through more and it was easier for me.”
Saxon led the Lady Diggers with 15 points. Her 3-pointer gave Wilburton a 6-2 lead early in the first, then she connected with Sockey for a layup.
Morgan’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 8-5, but Sokolosky hit a 3-pointer, then Wilburton forced back-to-back steals. Saxon went to the line after each steal and shot 1-for-2 both times, then buried a 3-pointer with three seconds left in the quarter for a 16-6 Wilburton lead.
With the win, Hartshorne improved to 8-10. Wilburton fell to 13-7.
Contact Matt Goisman at firstname.lastname@example.org.