Katie Wick had all kinds of trouble at the free throw line Saturday night — until it mattered the most.
Wick’s two free throws with 1:09 left proved to be the game-winners as Regina held on for a 48-47 win over Mid-Prairie in a River Valley Conference South Division game at Regina.
The win was the ninth straight for Regina (16-2), which improved to 14-2 in RVC play and completed the season sweep of Mid-Prairie after Regina downed the Golden Hawks in Wellman earlier this season.
Wick missed her first five free throw attempts Saturday, but with Regina trailing 47-46, the senior guard was fouled going to the basket and converted both foul shots.
“I was 0-for-5 or whatever, but when you are losing, you just need to go up there with mental toughness and know that you are going to make them,” Wick said. “I just put the missed shot behind me and tried to step up when I needed to.”
Wick’s two free throws put Regina up 48-47 and the Regals held on by surviving a wild final 69 seconds that featured three turnovers.
Mid-Prairie turned the ball over 17 times in the second half, including on two of its final three possessions as the Golden Hawks dropped to 8-7 and 8-5 in RVC play.
“The big thing was we turned the ball over a lot in the second half,” Mid-Prairie coach Stephen Bender said. “A lot of the turnovers were unforced when we were just trying to force things that weren’t there. Seventeen turnovers in one half is just way too many.”
Mid-Prairie battled back from a nine-point first-half deficit and took its first lead since the opening three minutes on a basket by Taylor Kurtz off a high-low feed from Ireland Hostetler with 1:38 left.
Regina took the lead back on the ensuing possession when Wick knocked down two clutch free throws.
“You just have to start over,” Wick said. “Every time you go to the line is a different time, and I just went up there with a fresh start and a clean slate.”
The Regals were 9-of-21 from the foul line Saturday but hit 4-of-6 in the final 3:19, including Wick’s go ahead pair with 1:09 left.
“We shot a pretty low percentage from the free throw line but hit a string of four of them when we needed it the most,” Regina coach Clark Anderson said. “It was a great job by Katie Wick of staying with it and focusing and coming through in the clutch, and that’s hard when you miss some shots, but she stepped up and made them when we needed them most.”
Mid-Prairie had several chances to take the lead back but came up empty on its final four possessions.
Alex Rath had a 3-pointer rim out with just less than a minute to play but the Golden Hawks got the ball back following a Regina turnover.
Mid-Prairie then turned the ball over with 35 seconds remaining attempting a sideline inbounds pass following a time out.
Regina ran 30 seconds off the clock on its ensuing possession as Mid-Prairie scrambled to foul but the Regals threw the ball out of bounds with 5.9 seconds left, giving the Golden Hawks on final chance.
Mid-Prairie got the ball inbounds to Courtney Cayton but her running 17-footer was well short at the buzzer.
“We drew up a play and they took away what we were looking for,” Bender said. “We ended up not getting the shot we wanted and we didn’t have a lot of time to get a shot.”
Wick finished with a team-high 14 points for Regina while Jenna Lehman added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Regals.
Regina made just four field goals in the second half after shooting 58 percent in the first two quarters.
“We were having trouble scoring tonight, but it’s a credit to our girls to step up and come through in the clutch,” Anderson said. “It’s fun to play in those types of situations, it can be nervous, but it’s definitely a growing experience and I’m just glad we came out on top.”
The loss overshadowed a brilliant performance by Mid-Prairie junior Taylor Kurtz, who scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.
Kurtz was 11-of-14 from the floor as Mid-Prairie played its second straight game without junior Ali Riggan, who was lost for the year with a knee injury.
“Last game she was held scoreless and that has only happened twice this year and so she wanted to rebound with a big game,” Bender said. “She really stepped up and really got after it on the offensive side and on the boards. She was just tremendous.”
MID-PRAIRIE (47) – Ashley Sojka 0-1 0-1 0, Alex Rath 3-10 3-4 11, Courtney Shalla 1-4 1-2 3, Courtney Cayton 0-2 0-0 0, Alison Butters 0-2 0-0 0, Celia Hostetler 1-1 0-0 2, Chelsea Bowlin 2-6 0-0 4, Ireland Hostetler 0-1 1-2 1, Taylor Kurtz 11-14 4-5 26, Totals 18-41 9-13 47.
REGINA (48) – Jenny Wick 0-2 0-2 0, Katie Wick 6-11 2-7 14, Nichole Becker 2-4 0-0 6, Kennedy Brown 3-4 2-2 8, Hannah Seaman 0-1 0-0 0, Cammi Verducci 1-3 0-0 3, Jenna Lehman 5-11 2-6 12, Hannah Stein 1-3 3-4 5, Totals 18-39 9-21 48.
3-point field goals – ICR 3-12 (J. Wick 0-1, Becker 2-4, Seaman 0-1, Verducci 1-3, Lehman 0-2, Stein 0-1) MP 2-8 (Sojka 0-1, Rath 2-6, Shalla 0-1). Rebounds – ICR 27 (Lehman 8) MP 31 (Kurtz 15). Turnovers – ICR 21, MP 25. Total fouls – ICR 12, MP 18. Fouled out – None. Technicals – None.