The Elizabethtown girls basketball team came into the championship game of the 2017 Northeastern Lady Bobcat Ollie’s Holiday Invitational on a four-game winning streak and averaging 56 points per game so far this season.
The Bears had been rolling during the four-game win streak, winning by an average of 28.5 points.
But on Thursday, Dec. 28, Elizabethtown was tested by West Perry. And in a game that saw no team hold a lead greater than six points, the contest came down to its final seconds.
Following two missed foul shots by Elizabethtown with nine seconds to play, West Perry grabbed the rebound and raced down the court, but the ensuing shot from the Mustangs’ Tiara Johnson didn’t fall, and Marena Lonardi grabbed the rebound for the Bears to secure a 33-32 victory and move their winning streak to five games.
The 33 points were a season-low for the Bears, but they picked up the victory and improved to 7-2 overall.
“We came out with a win and we managed to hit a free throw or two down the stretch,” Bears head coach John Myers said. “It wasn’t pretty in the fourth quarter.”
To Myers’ point, the Bears were just 1-of-8 from the foul line the final 2:55 of the game and finished just 6-from-16 from the charity stripe.
“You’re not going to win many games doing that,” Myers said of the team’s foul shooting.
The game was tied at 25-25 following the third quarter, and Elizabethtown’s Autumn Royer drilled a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter — and that was a lead the Bears wouldn’t relinquish.
West Perry closed to within one at 33-32 on Savannah Urich’s bucket with 10 seconds left. Urich was fouled during the shot and had a chance to tie the game by converting a foul shot, but she missed and Lonardi grabbed the rebound to give the Bears possession.
Lonardi — named the tournament’s MVP — picked up two first-quarter fouls, but finished with a game-high 16 points.