DEWITT – Bob Currier was looking for one thing from his Haslett girls basketball team with its backs against the wall in the CAAC Red race.
The Viking coach got the gritty type of performance he was looking for Friday night.
In a matchup of Class A ranked teams, No. 9 Haslett fought its way to a 61-59 triple-overtime road victory over No. 5 DeWitt in a key CAAC Red matchup.
“Haslett doesn’t always have grit,” Currier said. “Tonight we had it. I thought we showed a lot of it. There were just so many huge little plays that were hustle plays.
“Tonight our backs were against the wall . If they win they automatically win the league and then there’s nothing for the rest of us. I’m really glad we were able to come out with that. The season has been long and so many little things have happened. I’m so proud of our team to be where we are.”
Haslett (15-3, 7-2 CAAC Red) pulled even with DeWitt and St. Johns atop the league standings with the win. And they did it without senior starter Karson Tripp, who was out with a hand injury she suffered last week.
“Missing Karson, we definitely had to bring up our intensity,” said Haslett junior Sydnee Dennis, who finished with a team-high 19 points. “We knew that DeWitt was going to be tough so we had to use our grit to win this game. I’ve got to give it to DeWitt, they played tough.”
Senior Megan Mowid scored 15 points and Annisa Whims added 12 points for Haslett, which bounced back from last week’s loss to St. Johns.
Grace George had 19 points off the bench to lead DeWitt, which had its winning streak halted at seven games. Senior Summer Ward added 14 points for the Panthers (16-2, 7-2).
“We just didn’t execute at the very end but I give them credit,” George said. “They are a really good team and they have some really good players. They knocked down some really good shots and so did we. It’s just with how the game ends, there always has to be a loser.”
Dennis and George hit 3s to start the third overtime before Haslett took the lead for good on a basket by Mowid. The Vikings pushed their lead to five with 40 seconds left as Shannon Twichell hit a free throw and Whims had a basket.
Ward responded by hitting a 3 with 27 seconds remaining to pull the Panthers within two. DeWitt missed a few opportunities to force a fourth overtime, including missing a shot just before time expired.
“Give them credit, they made some big plays down the stretch,” said DeWitt coach Bill McCullen, whose team also had chances to win at the end of the first two overtimes. “They started that third overtime with a 3, which I thought was a big momentum play. I’m just really proud of (my team) with how they responded several times when mathematically you’re looking like you’re out of it and then making two or three plays to tie the game. Getting it into overtime in the first place was a struggle. It was a good high school game.”
Contact Brian Calloway at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.