Mansfield girls trump Airline in OT for 'Doc' Edwards title

Mansfield’s prospects of winning Saturday’s “Doc” Edwards Invitational looked bleak when tournament MVP Ashlyn Jacobs fouled out with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.

As a result of the foul, Airline’s Tasha Shiflett would sink both free throws to tie the game and send it into overtime. But the Lady Wolverines’ Kitty Ross nailed a huge 3-pointer and Shalesa McMillon dropped in a pair of critical free throws to send Mansfield to the 57-56 victory in front of a pro Mansfield crowd at the CenturyLink Center.

“I told the girls to just keep fighting and good things would happen,” Mansfield coach Kendra Neal said. “It was a neutral court, but it was Airline’s tournament, and they wanted to win just as badly as we did.

“I kept hoping we could just get the ball up the court so we could get into our offense.”

Thanks to the stellar play of Jacobs, who knocked down eight consecutive free throws at one point, the Lady Wolverines were able to navigate through a maze of North Webster, Southwood, Byrd and Airline over three days to win their second title of the season.

Despite the late heroics of Katie Pilcher, Jasmyn Carswell, Taylor Gatson and Kei McCoy, Airline finished as runners-up in their tournament for another season. The Lady Vikings, who have never won their post-Christmas party, battled back from a 16-point deficit to take the lead in overtime, only to see it slip from their grasp. Pilcher, a senior, alternately cried and smiled during the postgame trophy presentation.

“The girls kept pounding, and the more they pounded the more they believed they could win,” Airline coach David Duhon said. “We had a couple of people we weren’t expecting to make plays, make them, and boom, we were right back in the ball game. But we’ve had a difficult time executing.”

A human dynamo on the court, Jacobs led all scorers with 28 points, while controlling her team’s offense.

“At the beginning it looked like we would blow them out, but then they came back,” Jacobs said. “It feels really good to get this win. My teammates really stepped up and showed we don’t need the starters to beat them.”

Mansfield jumped out to a 13-4 first-quarter advantage when Jacobs drilled a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining. Airline committed 10 turnovers in the frame and the speedy Lady Wolverines took advantage. Jacobs scored all of her team’s points in an 8-1 run in the second quarter to put her team in front 21-5 with three minutes to play.

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