BOWLING GREEN, Ky.
After letting a 14-point lead slip away, the Notre Dame Academy basketball team had to go to overtime to keep its season alive.
Carlee Clemons had a big putback basket and Sydney Stallman hit two key free throws in the final minute of overtime as the Pandas beat Madison Central 57-53 on Thursday in a first-round game of the Houchens Industries Sweet 16.
A crowd of 4,124 at E.A. Diddle Arena saw Notre Dame (27-5) — No. 4 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings — advance to face Marshall County in today’s 9 p.m. EDT quarterfinal.
“In tournament play, teams aren’t going to let up,” Pandas coach Nicole Levandusky said of her team’s losing a big lead. “But I was proud of our girls. They never quit fighting.”
Notre Dame led 37-23 late in the third quarter, but Madison Central battled back for a 40-39 lead on Ashton Feldhaus’ two free throws with 4:46 left.
Larryn Brooks’ layup gave the No. 9 Lady Indians (29-5) a 49-47 lead with 28 seconds left, but Haylee Smith’s basket with 21 seconds left forced overtime.
Clemens’ putback with 32 seconds left gave the Pandas a 54-53 lead with 32 seconds left in the extra period. After a Madison Central miss, Stallman sank two free throws for a 56-53 edge.
Madison Central tried to get Feldhaus open for a 3-point try on its next possession, but Clemons picked up a steal for the Pandas.
“We had an idea they’d look for a three, and we didn’t want (Feldhaus) to take it,” Levandusky said. “We swamped her and got the ball back.”
Paige Kellam hit 1 of 2 free throws with 8.7 seconds left to seal Notre Dame’s win.
Olivia Voskuhl led Notre Dame with 14 points. Kellam added 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Smith had 10 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
Feldhaus (26 points, 14 rebounds) and Brooks (19 points, five steals, four assists) led Madison Central.