The Monticello girls basketball team had only two wins under its belt on Thursday, Feb. 11 heading into the game against St. Francis.
The Magic were ranked No. 5 and the Saints were ranked No. 6 in the Mississippi 8 conference and both teams had a 2-5 record. Both teams were ready to prove themselves on the court and fight until the final seconds of the game.
St. Francis started the night off on the right foot with a drive to the basket and two three-pointers.
Magic’s Olivia Hanson drove to the basket and picked up a foul and two free throws.
The score was 8-2 with 14 minutes left in the first half.
Monticello Head Coach Craig Geyen subbed in four players with 13 minutes left and kept Hanson in the game.
“We dug ourselves a hole right out of the gate to get down 8-0,” Geyen said. “We needed a better start out of the gates. Then the turning point in the second half is when we started to do some offense/defense substitutions. Our defenders brought it and that turned into some easy baskets for our offense.”
The Saints scored one free throw.
Sophia Haase swished a three pointer, Katelyn Lindberg scored two free throws, and Emma Cordell had a great break away pass to Morgan Spears for a layup. Bringing the score to 12-9 with nine minutes left in the half.
Madison Katzenberger had great defense causing her player to turn the ball over and giving Hanson a breakaway layup where she was fouled. She made one of her two free throws.
The score was 17-10 with the Magic still trailing and 6:29 on the clock.
Spears inbounded a canon to Hanson across the court and she scored an easy breakaway layup.
St. Francis had a few easy baskets down low.
Hanson found a hole in the defense once again and earned herself two points.
Lily Manning swished a three pointer off of a perfectly executed play by the Magic leaving her wide open at the top of the key.
Next Kuta made her way to the block scoring a basket for Monticello.
Haase was fouled and made one of her two free throws.
The score was 26-20 with 52 second left in the first half.
The Saints scored once more to close out the half leaving Monticello down by four baskets at the half.
Cordell drove to the basket and dumped to Hanson where she earned an and-one.
Spears knocked one down from the top of the key bringing the score to 32-28 with 12:41 left in the game.
St. Francis came down and scored a bucket under the basket and a three pointer, pulling away once again.
The score was 39-28 with 11:50 left in the game and Monticello called a timeout.
Manning scored a layup for the Magic.
Katzenberger attempted a three pointer but she missed and #15 snagged the rebound and scored for two.
The score was 39-32 with eight minutes left in the game.
Lindberg faked out her defender and scored a nice jumper. On the next play she scored another basket with an assist from Hanson.
The five on the floor; Hanson, Lindberg, Katzenberger, Spears, and Kuta brought a new fire on the floor.
The score was 41-36 Monticello down with 6:52 left in the game.
The Saints scored a few more baskets with no response from the Magic.
The score was 46-36 with three minutes remaining.
Spears earned herself an and-one and another basket from the block bringing the score to 46-41. St. Francis called a timeout with 2:42 on the clock.
Monticello defense came out with full pressure.
Katzenberger was wide open on the three point line, Hanson drove to the basket and dumped to Katzenberger for a swish from the perimeter. The score was 46-44 and Monticello called a timeout with 1:28 on the clock.
Manning was sent to the free throw line in double bonus for Monticello and made one of the two shots.
St. Francis scored a bucket down low. The score was 48-45.
“We need to bring energy the entire game instead of for small stretches,” Geyen said. “We could have executed our offense better in the first half. In the second half we kept our turnovers down and we executed our offense at a much higher rate.”
Hanson was sent to the line. She made both shots. The score was 48-47 with 24 seconds remaining.
It was the Saints possession and the Magic fouled sending them to the line for one - where they missed, Hanson earned the rebound, and she was fouled.
Hanson shot for two from the free throw line and sank both. Monticello took the lead for the first time since the game started, 49-48 with 11 seconds left on the clock.
St. Francis had the ball and scored a quick three pointer making the score 51-49 with 1.1 seconds left in the game and Geyen called a timeout.
“During the final timeout we got the look we were hoping for,” Geyen said. “Our first look was going to the basket and our second look was coming out to hit a game winning three. With .5 seconds left we could catch and shoot and that was all we had a chance to do. All you can ask for is a chance to win in that situation.”
Spears inbounded the ball to Hanson where she attempted a three pointer but it didn’t fall. The buzzer rang and the final score was 51-49 with St. Francis taking home the victory.
“It was a tough loss,” Geyen said. “Coming into the game I thought we had one of our best practices of the season on Wednesday. The team was disappointed and as a coach you usually do not get much sleep after a game as close as that. On Friday I thought we had a good practice and are looking forward to getting better next week.”
Hanson had 14 points, Spears had 10 points, Manning had nine points, Lindberg had six points, Kuta had four points, Katzenberger had three points, Cordell had two points, and Haase had one point for the night.
Reach Jessie Meyen at firstname.lastname@example.org