Jessica Reynolds hit a 14-foot jump shot with four seconds remaining to lift No. 4 Caravel to a 67-66 overtime victory over No. 2 St. Elizabeth in nonconference girls basketball action Friday night.
The late heroics deftly illustrated the message coach Kristin Caldwell had been preaching since last March 11 – the date of the state championship game in which her Buccaneers lost to these same Vikings.
“It came down to toughness,” Caldwell recalled of their previous meeting, “and we weren’t tough enough. They killed us on the boards. So, this whole offseason, that’s sort of been our mantra: You got to get tougher, we got to be more physical with that game in mind. … We made a huge step forward, and I’m just really proud of the effort. I mean, from our freshman that starts, Grace [Lange] to our senior.”
And the winning basket was a product of that mentality. Shannon Tobin, who had hit several key shots all game, launched a baseline jumper. It bounded off the rim, and Lange dove to the floor to gather up the 50-50 ball, dishing it out to Reynolds. The senior swished the shot, and St. E (6-3) could do little more than fire up a 25-footer at the buzzer by Macy Robinson (18 points).
Ky’Asia Stanford carried the scoring load for Caravel, now 7-2 and still unbeaten against in-state opponents. The quick guard tallied 27 points, including a pair of drives for layups in the overtime. Beating her defenders off the dribble was standard practice most of the night.
“After a couple times I did it,” she said, “I figured why stop if it was working. Then, once they did stop it a little, I would dish it down and they’d put it in the basket.
“This is a great win. We know this is a good team; they’ve got great players on that team. And we’ve been waiting for this game ever since last March.”
Caravel led 47-40 with 5:58 left in the fourth quarter. St. Elizabeth ran off eight straight points to regain the lead behind a pair of long jumpers by Lexi Bromwell and determined work inside by Sabrina Hackendorn. The advantage bounced back and fourth with Lange’s 13-footer off a batted pass from Caroline Davis with 21 seconds remaining eventually leading to overtime.
Stanford feasted in the lane throughout the first half both in transition and set offense. The 5-foot-11 junior scored 15 by intermission, including one 3-pointer and two three-point plays. Her short jumper with two seconds left in the half – after being blocked on her first attempt by Robinson – gave Caravel a 28-27 lead.
Robinson led St. Elizabeth in the first half with 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.