CHAMPION - It was deja vu for the Champion Golden Flashes girl's basketball team on Saturday afternoon. After losing in triple overtime to Lakeview Thursday night, the Flashes went into overtime yet again against Pymatuning Valley. Unfortunately for Champion, the result was the same as PV came out on top 41-36.
The game was all tied at 34 heading into overtime, and PV's Michaealia Skleres started the overtime period by nailing a jumper, giving the Lakers a 36-34 lead. Megan Stech made one of two free throws, putting PV up 37-34 with 1:20 to go in the extra period.
Champion's Mackenzie Kiser got a lay-up on the other end cutting the score to 37-36, but PV's Geena Gabriel came right back with lay-in of her own to give the Lakers a 39-36 lead with 53 seconds to go. Gabriel sank one of two free throws with 23 seconds left in extra time to put PV up 40-36. Skleres sealed the deal by splitting a pair of free throws, ultimately giving the Lakers the victory.
PV coach Jeff Compan stated that Gabriel made some big plays down the stretch for the Lakers (12-1).
"Geena generally never comes off the floor and the ball is in her hands all the time." Compan said.
Compan added Gabriel had great composure down the stretch to help lead PV to the win. She scored eight points for the Lakers, four of them in the fourth quarter and overtime.
But it wasn't just the play of Gabriel. Compan mentioned he also was quite impressed with how Stech played.
"She's been coming on, especially rebounding recently," Compan said. "She has done a really good job hitting the offensive glass, and she has been crucial inside."
Stech was the leading scorer for the Lakers, dropping 13 points, grabbing six rebounds - four of them offensive.
As Compan praised Stech and Gabriel, he stated there were two key components that were crucial for the Lakers win.
"In the end, it was defensive stops and foul shooting," Compan stated. "We finally made some foul shots in overtime. Had we been hitting a little bit better from the foul line earlier, we may have won in regulation."
Champion (7-6) was leading 27-25 to begin the fourth. With 7:30 to go, Skleres tied the game at 27 by hitting both of her free throws. With 1:15 left, the Flashes' Kelly Robinson nailed a go ahead 3-pointer, giving Champion a 34-31 lead.
With 30 seconds remaining in regulation and Champion leading 34-32, Stech snagged an offensive rebound and put it back to tie the game at 34. Both teams attempted shots to get the win but to no avail.
Gabby Lamont led the Flashes with 12 points. The senior scored all nine of Champion's points in the second quarter and started off the third quarter by sinking a 3-pointer.
However, what was critical down the stretch for the Flashes was when Lamont fouled out with 5 minutes left in the game.
Jordyn Skaggs scored eight points for the Flashes, and Mackenzie Kiser was held to seven points and grabbed eight rebounds for Champion.
Although the Flashes lost, Champion coach Jeff Thompson liked what he saw on defense. However what he saw on offense was another story.
"PV is averaging 61 points per game, and we held them to 41 points," Thompson said. "We weren't rotating the ball well against the zone. We need to attack and and take the jump shot when it's there. We're just not doing that. Thirty-six points doesn't win ball games."
In order to rebound from the loss, Thompson pinpointed what the Flashes need to do.
"We just have to take better care of the basketball, make better passes," Thompson said. "We need to get ready for Hubbard on Monday and prepare for a big league game against Newton Falls Thursday."