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Commanderettes beat Bethlehem 42-40 in OT to avoid district cellar

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Last-second shot by senior Shelley Medley is the game-winner

By The Staff

By Jimmie Earls

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Sun Sports Writer

It wasn’t exactly the state championship last Friday night in Springfield, but you would have thought Washington County won the title when the final buzzer went off in overtime and the Commanderette faithful erupted in celebration after edging the Bethlehem Banshees 42-40.

After a back-and-forth battle for 32 minutes, resulting in a 33-all tie, the Banshees battled back in OT and it looked like another extra period would be needed, but a shot off a rebound by senior Shelley Medley found the net with seconds to go and the Commanderettes staved off the attack to avoid a last-place finish in district standings.

“That game meant a lot as far as district seeding,” said Commanderette head coach Bernard Smalley. “We played Bethlehem last Monday in the All ‘A’ tournament and we weren’t ready to play, and we didn’t give it a good effort.”

Smalley said the Commanderettes came into play last Friday with a plan to contain Banshee senior Cate Hurst.

“We had a plan to put three or four people on Hurst all night, and although she scored 22 points, 10 of those came from the free-throw line and eight points came from layups off of steals. So we contained her and we gave ourselves a chance to win.”

The Commanderettes got the early lead as freshman Kenya Turner went up for the first bucket of the game. Senior guard Morgan Burton drove the length of the court in the final seconds of the first quarter to put WC on top 10-8.

The Banshees fought back in the second quarter, putting five unanswered points on the board to take a 13-10 lead. The Commanderettes fell silent, scoring only four points in the period until a foul at the buzzer sent Burton to the line for three shots. She hit all three to pull WC back into the game. Bethlehem led 19-17 at the half.

For the rest of this story, see this week's print edition of The Springfield Sun.