JACKSON TWP — It was the only shot Oakland Catholic’s Katie Kush made all night, but it threw her teammates into a frenzy and sent Seneca Valley off its own court in disgust.
Kush drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that lifted the struggling Eagles to a dramatic 30-29 overtime win over the Raiders at William Paul Gymnasium Thursday night.
“That’s what happens when you play a last-place team and let them take you to overtime,” said Seneca coach Rob Lombardo. “We could have knocked them out of playoff contention. This one hurts.”
SV’s Melissa Carter went to the free throw line with 6.3 seconds remaining in overtime and her team leading 29-27. Both attempts from the sophomore forward did not fall and Oakland Catholic’s Madison Caufield grabbed the rebound and dribbled to midcourt before finding Kush open in the left corner.
“I don’t think nerves affected Melissa’s free throws,” Lombardo said of SV’s chance to seal the win. “She went to the line thinking she was going to knock both of them down.”
For the Eagles (2-9, 1-5), the victory snapped a nine-game losing streak.
“This was huge for our girls,” said Oakland Catholic coach Shannon Kearney. “We’ve had quite a few tough games and winning a game like this helps keep the girls motivated.”
Carter had drained two free throws with 1:36 left, giving the Raiders a 29-26 lead. Moments later, Caufield hit one-of-two from the charity stripe, pulling the Eagles to within two and allowing Kush’s ensuing trifecta to end the game.
“Katie is one of our better outside shooters,” said Kearney. “She’s been working hard at it and I believe the harder you work, the luckier you get.”
SV (4-7, 2-3) had a chance to win the game in regulation.
With under five seconds to go and the game tied at 24, Oakland’s Taylor McCorkle was near the free throw line when she tried to get a shot off over Erin Danik. The 6-foot-1 forward blocked the shot, controlled the ball and started to move up the floor when she was fouled with four-tenths of a second on the clock.
Danik was awarded a one-and-one at the other end, but did not convert her first attempt and the extra period became necessary. The last points in regulation came at the 5:33 mark, when the Eagles’ Taylor Renk scored a two-point basket that tied the score.
Oakland’s leading scorer was Kelly Vigliotti with nine points, while SV was led by Lexus Lambert’s eight points. The Eagles had 23 turnovers and the Raiders 24. Clearly, defense ruled the evening, helped along by poor offensive execution at times by both teams.
“Defensively, we were phenomenal,” said Lombardo. “I was happy with how we performed on that end of the floor.”
The Raiders will try to rebound when they visit rival Butler on Tuesday.
“Hopefully, this one stings enough to get us to play better and take better care of the basketball,” Lombardo added.
OAKLAND CATHOLIC 30
Katie Kush 1 0-0 3, Taylor Renk 3 2-4 8, Taylor McCorkle 1 4-4 6, Kelly Vigliotti 3 2-4 9, Melissa Zegeer 1 0-0 3, Madison Caufield 0 1-2 1, Cecilia Cromer 0 0-0 0, Aliyah Tullis 0 0-0 0, Laura Pawlik 0 0-0 0, Essence Canady 0 0-0 0. Totals: 9 9-14 30.
SENECA VALLEY 29
Katie Brown 2 1-2 5, Hannah Parey 1 0-0 3, Meghan Hess 0 2-2 2, Lexus Lambert 3 1-2 8, Melissa Carter 1 4-6 6, Erin Danik 2 1-3 5, Michaela Lamont 0 0-0 0, Christina Dunning 0 0-0 0, Sarah Jones 0 0-0 0, Shaley Bream 0 0-0 0, Abbie Trzeciak 0 0-0 0. Totals: 9 9-15 29.
Oakland Catholic 10 3 7 4 6 — 30
Seneca Valley5 8 8 3 5 — 29
3-point goals: Oakland Catholic 3 (Vigliotti, Zegeer, Kush); Seneca Valley 2 (Parey, Lambert).
Tuesday: Seneca Valley at Butler