ULYSSES — When two of the top teams in the conference met Friday night, it had all the makings of a high-scoring, close game.
It was close, but field goals were harder to find than moisture in Kansas this winter, with Scott City winning in overtime, 38-37, over Ulysses.
With regulation ending at 31-all, Kaitlyn Roberts hit her first field goal of the game, a three-pointer to put the Beavers up 34-31 early in the extra period, only to have Gina Ballesteros answer with her fourth trey of the game at 2:22 — and creating another tie.
Emily Smith followed that with a putback after a blocked shot with one minute to play, and then went to the line to shoot two free throws after an intentional foul was called on an inbound play following a time out with 21 seconds to go, giving the Beavers a 38-34 lead.
On the ensuing inbound, Smith got hacked again but missed both free throws, giving Ballesteros a chance for late heroics by making a shot and free throws with eight seconds to play.
Scott City lost the ball on its following possession, but Ballesteros' last-ditch shot from 30 feet fell short and the Beavers had the win.
Ballesteros led all scorers with 17 points. Cristen Edwards added seven, all on free throws.
For the Beavers, Smith had 10 points and Emily Weathers 11 points, with Lyndi Rumford adding nine.
Ulysses hit just 11-of-57 shots and Scott City was 12 of 43. That is a combined 23-of-100 field goals.
Scott City led just 18-11 after 16 minutes of play, a low-scoring affair for two teams known for shooting. But the Beavers were just 8 of 26 from the floor and the Tigers 3 of 26 (combined 11 of 52) in that span.
Ulysses' defense held Scott City bucket-less, and to one point in the third until the final minute, when the Beavers took a 20-19 lead (their first of the game), but Lyndi Rumford put back a rebound at the buzzer to keep a 24-22 lead going into the final period.
For Beavers coach Sarah McCormick, whose team went to state for the first time in school history last year, this was a good barometer by which to measure her team, especially after a 17-day layoff.
"It's what's on the back of our tee shirts, 'Find a Way,'" she said. "It's not always going to be pretty."
She told her team after this game what she told them after their last game in December.
"We haven't played great of late, but you have to find a way. But after a while, we're seeing the same (mistakes) over and over again, and good teams fix it quick," she said. "I know we're new to that mentality."
It's something they're working on, McCormick said, and what will help is playing games.
Scott City (5-1) host rival Holcomb Tuesday.
"I'm ready," McCormick said. "I feel we've been sitting out forever and I'm ready. Let's have basketball season. We work too hard to just sit."
Ulysses coach Tim Hofferber knew the game was set to be a close one — he just wasn't predicting the lack of shots falling.
"For us, it seemed like we were just rushing everything, like we were trying to win the game on every shot," he said. "At halftime, we just told the girls to relax and settle down. The shots are going to fall."
They did — for a little while. Defensively, his girls stepped it up, pressured Scott City, and made it a game.
The loss, as tough as it was, is still just one game out of many to play, Hofferber said. Now it's time to move on.
Ulysses (6-2) hosts Hugoton Tuesday and travels to Goodland Friday for a pair of league games.
"Learn and move on," he said. "It doesn't get a lot easier for us. We'll have two good challenges."