Southwestern Heights Mustangs

Southwestern Heights Mustangs

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An overtime thriller

Published 1/23/2012

By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gcgtelegram.com

For the sixth time in seven seasons, the Cimarron Lady Bluejays and the Lady Mustangs of Southwestern Heights were battling for Hi-Plains League tournament supremacy when the two Class 3A powers met Saturday at the Perryman Athletic Complex.

And for the fifth time, the Lady Mustangs prevailed, with a stirring 41-36 overtime victory that enabled them to remain unbeaten at 12-0 while the Lady 'Jays lost for the first time and are now 11-1.

These two HPL powers were equal to the task in providing drama in one of the most anticipated matchups of the season.

Cimarron provided the fourth quarter heroics that sent the game into the four-minute extra period when freshman Morgan Ediger took a rifle-pass from Lindsey Wehkamp, dribbled and hit a driving bank-shot layup with seven seconds left, tying the game at 32. Heights didn't get a shot off as the buzzer ended regulation play.

That momentum carried over into the first two minutes of overtime as the Lady 'Jays scored four straight points, the first basket on a driving layup by Breanna Bryant and the second on a perfectly-timed lob pass from Ediger to Wehkamp that provided a 36-32 lead with 1:54 to go.

"I'm not sure exactly how Lindsay got the ball into Morgan, but she made a great pass and the play worked perfectly," Cimarron head coach David Ediger said.

That, however, would prove to be the final points for Cimarron and opened the door for the Lady Mustangs' comeback. The biggest shot of the night, perhaps, came at the 1:40 mark when Rebi Jacobs lofted a 3-point shot that clanged on the back of the rim and somehow fell to the right and into the net, pulling Heights to within one at 36-35.

It was one of those moments that Heights coach Barry Mellen later described as, "a bounce here, a bounce there, and it could have gone the other way."

"Certainly, a big shot that looked like it didn't have much of a chance to go in, but it did," coach Ediger said. "Sometimes, it's just a little bit of luck that makes you or breaks you."

After that clutch basket, coach Ediger called for a similar play to the end of regulation play. This time, with a different option, Ediger took another pass from Wehkamp but her layup fell off the rim at the 1:20 mark.

From there, Heights went to the free throw line eight times, making six in the final 1:05 to ice the game. Rachel Stout sank all four of her charities while Jackie Loya cashed in a pair with seven seconds left to finish off the scoring.

"I thought one of the keys was how our guards handled their pressure," Mellen said. "They're very quick and pressure you a lot. And I thought our defense did pretty good, especially early, in keeping the ball away from Wehkamp."

For Ediger and his team, the loss came without the services of the Lady 'Jays senior point guard, Avery Burns, who tore her ACL eight days earlier at Syracuse and is likely out for the season. Burns had been the team's scoring leader and floor general.

"The girls showed a lot of heart and a lot of determination tonight," Ediger said. "I'm as proud of them tonight as I was on Thursday when we won."

No doubt, though, the absence of Burns was a factor in the game.

"We'll always miss Avery, but I'm not going to take away from the others," Ediger said. "Not having Avery shows in areas like this kind of game. But I told the girls, they're going to have to step up and play."

The game started ominously for Cimarron as they didn't score a point until there was just 15 seconds left in the first quarter. By then, Heights had reeled off 11 points and that 11-2 score ended the first period.

After trailing 18-8 midway through the second stanza, the Lady 'Jays finally got untracked, scoring the final five points to make it an 18-13 halftime score.

Cimarron opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run to tie the game at 20-all, but Heights finished off the period with its own 6-0 run and were up 26-20.

The Lady Mustangs were still up by five, 32-27, with 1:54 to play but Chelsea Dupree hit a free throw and Wehkamp scored on a driving bank shot with 23 seconds left, cutting the deficit to two. On the ensuing inbounds play, Heights turned it over, setting the stage for Morgan Ediger's game-tying bucket.

"It was just the opposite of Thursday," Ediger said of when his team made 22-of-26 at the line. "We're usually a pretty good free throw shooting team. You can't do that and expect to win against a good team."

Heights' taller lineup also provided a 47-36 rebounding advantage as Stout pulled down 11 boards to go with 12 points. Jacobs finished with 10 points. Wehkamp, who led all scorers with 14 points, finished with a double-double, grabbing 10 boards.

Cimarron turned the ball over 19 times while Heights was guilty of 18 miscues.

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SW Heights 11 7 8 6 9 -- 41

Cimarron 2 11 7 12 4 -- 36

SW Heights (12-0) — Jacobs 3-12 2-4 10, Garinger 2-10 0-1 4, Couch 1-5 0-0 3, Coats 1-5 0-4 2, Loya 0-2 3-4 3, Ryan 3-5 1-2 7, Stout 3-10 6-6 12. Totals 13-49 12-21 41.

Cimarron (11-1) — R. Dupree 0-3 0-0 0, Ash. Burns 0-4 1-3 1, Payne 1-4 0-1 2, Siek 2-5 0-0 5, Waters 0-2 0-0 0, C. Dupree 2-8 1-5 5, Ediger 2-9 1-4 5, Bryant 2-5 0-0 4, Wehkamp 7-9 0-0 14, Corrales 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-50 3-13 36.

3-point goals--Heights 3 (Jacobs 2, Couch 1), Cimarron 1 (Siek). Rebounds--Heights 47 (Stout 11), Cimarron 36 (Wehkamp 10). Turnovers--Heights 18, Cimarron 19. Fouls--Heights 16, Cimarron 18. Fouled out--Heights (Ryan).

Meade 47, Sublette 34

The Meade Lady Buffaloes raced to an 18-6 first quarter lead, then saw a nearly 20-point lead slip to six before a late flurry helped them post a 47-34 victory over the Sublette Lady Larks Saturday in the third-place in the HPL tournament.

Marlin, with 16 points, got scoring support from Daryan Whaler, who finished with 10 points. Kenzie Friesen's 17 points were high for the Lady Buffs.

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Sublette 6 7 8 13 -- 34

Meade 18 9 8 12 -- 47

Sublette (34) — Marlin 6 4-4 16, Ornelas 0 0-3 0, E. Whaler 2 1-2 5, Meyer 1 1-3 3, D. Whaler 4 2-6 10. Totals 13 8-18 34.

Meade (47) — Olvera 2 0-0 4, Crain 2 2-2 6, Hanson 1 0-2 2, Wiens 3 0-0 6, Rudzik 0 2-2 2, Miller 2 0-0 4, Cook 3 0-0 6, Friesen 6 5-9 17. Totals 19 9-15 47.

3-point goals--Sublette 0, Meade 0.

Lakin 40, Stanton County 30

The Lakin Lady Broncs got 21 points combined from Darrie Rogers and Mariah Hill on Saturday en route to helping their team secure the 10-point victory over the Lady Trojans.

Rogers finished with 11 and Hill 10 as the Lady Broncs secured the fifth-place finish.

It was a slow start for both teams as Stanton County was up just 7-4 after one quarter, and then Lakin held a 12-10 halftime lead. Lindsey Erskin and Jenna Black scored 11 points each for the Lady Trojans.

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Lakin 4 8 13 15 -- 40

Stanton Co. 7 3 7 13 -- 30

Lakin (40) — Williams 0 1-2 1, Hill 3 3-4 10, Davidson 2 0-0 5, Haney 1 0-0 2, Simmons 0 2-4 2, Rogers 4 3-6 11, Watkins 0 1-2 1, Armstrong 3 2-8 8, Richter 0 0-2 0. Totals 13 12-28 40.

Stanton Co. (30) — Summers 1 1-2 3, Floyd 1 0-0 2, Erskin 5 1-2 11, Daniels 0 1-2 1, Black 4 0-0 11, Gerard 1 0-2 2. Totals 12 3-8 30.

3-point goals--Lakin 2 (Hill 1, Davidson 1), Stanton Co. 3 (Black 3).

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