Every day in the Charlestown girls’ basketball locker room, the Pirates glance at a photograph of boxing legend Muhammad Ali with the word “toughness” printed over the picture hanging in a prominent place on the wall.
On Tuesday night, the Pirates personified that, scrambling back from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to conquer host New Albany 60-55 in overtime. Kaitlynn Henning scored 24 points, including 17 in the final 12 minutes, as the Pirates (15-3) won a marquee matchup of local heavyweights.
Henning’s three-point play with 39.9 seconds remaining forced the extra period, and her five throws in the overtime proved to be the difference. Lexi Logsdon added 16 points for Charlestown, which conquered the Bulldogs (12-6) for the first time since 2010.
“They just stuck with it,” Charlestown coach Michael Prichard said. “They got a little bit of momentum and just never gave up. We’ve got some fighters.”
The Bulldogs owned a 40-33 lead early in the fourth quarter before Henning awoke. She punched into the paint and scored three times, including a drive into the interior for the bucket and subsequent free throw that forged a 50-50 deadlock.
“Our toughness was the key,” Henning said. “We had to stay strong. We kept our heads up.”
New Albany had a 50-47 lead and made two defensive plays that could have protected that. Ashley Lyninger stole a pass in the paint, and Marissa Jones blocked a Henning layup. But Henning kept charging, kept swinging until she connected.
“We did a nice job of executing our game plan for three quarters,” New Albany coach Tammy Geron said. “Then we let Henning get to the rim way too easily and put her at the foul line too much.
“We made some poor mistakes down the stretch. We lost our minds a little bit. I’m definitely disappointed in how we executed.”
Lauren Camm had 13 points while Lyninger totaled 10 off the bench. But New Albany also had 24 turnovers, including nine in the fourth quarter and overtime. During that same time span, the Pirates had only two.
“Our defense was the main key,” Henning said. “We had to get stops.”
Charlestown was almost unstoppable early, hitting its first six shots. But when the Pirates ultimately cooled, hitting only 3 of their next 17 the rest of the first half, the Bulldogs bulled in front. Jessica Knight and Megan Theverow hit 3-pointers, and Camm converted two free throws for a 25-23 advantage at the break.
Jenna Shine swished a corner trey, Camm cashed in two short-range shots, and Jones hit a soft 10-footer from the lane for a 38-33 lead after three quarters. Camm opened the fourth with a driving layup for the 40-33 edge that was later wasted.
Henning took a back seat to Logsdon and Justice Burden (11 points) until the game had to be salvaged. That’s when she made a treasure from the trash.
“She puts a lot of pressure on herself to perform,” Prichard said. “We do rely on her a lot, everybody knows that. We wanted to put the ball in her hands, and she made some plays.”
Charlestown (15-3) – Justice Burden 11, Bethany Hall 4, Shelby Goedeker 5, Kaitlynn Henning 24, Lexi Logsdon 16.
New Albany (12-6) – Brianne Nixon 7, Jessica Knight 6, Marissa Jones 7, Jenna Shine 5, Lauren Camm 13, Ashley Lyninger 10, Chyna Anthony 4, Megan Theverow 3.
3-point goals – Knight 2, Shine 1, Jones 1, Theverow 1, Logsdon 1.
Justin Sokeland can be followed on Twitter at @golfguru55