ABERDEEN — Eagle senior Miranda McDonald took the overall point lead at 25, netted a late game field goal to close the game within one point and followed up with back-to-back three-point baskets in overtime to rally the Lady Eagles past the Aberdeen Bobcats 72-66 on Jan. 19 in Aberdeen.
“Awesome, just awesome team effort,” said Eagle coach Lisa Johnson.
With two starting players out because of injury, the Eagles looked like they could not answer the drive of home team Aberdeen. Initially only lagging by six after the first period, the Bobcats took advantage of Elma’s missing players and extended their lead by 16 at the half.
With almost every Bobcat player to hit the court making an impact to their point total, Elma’s quota of baskets were spread across only four players. Bobcat Mo Donavan collected nine points before the half ended with teammate Lily Walsh right behind at eight. Those 17-points represented the difference at halftime.
What was said in the locker-room is anybodies guess but coach Johnson must have struck a cord with the Lady Eagles as they came out more focused and started to play a more selective Elma type of basketball.
“We talked about how they, (Aberdeen), were dictating how we play. I told them it was time for them to come together as a team, and they did,” remarked Johnson.
With Elma taking control at the start of the third period, guard Ashlyn Malmstrom opened up with a deep shot, which was followed up by Kayla Pacheco and the Eagles had quickly converted for 6-points, and started to rein in the Bobcats. In the entire period only foul shots and three-pointers were seen, but for Elma, it was the simmer before the fourth quarter storm.
In contrast to the third period, the final regular period of play saw points generated from lay-ins, jump shots and offensive rebounding with Elma peppering the boards drawing closer to the Bobcats. A basket from Izzy Cristelli brought the visiting supporters to their feet as Elma had taken a momentary lead 48-47, with just over five minutes remaining in regulation. The game hit 52 apiece, but just as quickly Bobcat Emily Fisher made a steal and took Aberdeen back on top. Elma’s McDonald netted a three-point basket to edge Aberdeen by one. The game went back and forth as coaches took timeouts to settle their teams and set the right play. With obvious fouls from both sides in attempts to gain control of the ball, the game had settled to a 58-57 score with Aberdeen ahead, in control of the ball and 33.2 seconds remaining. The Bobcats turned the ball over when caught traveling and threw a foul on Cristelli during the inbound. Cristelli hit the first basket tying the game at 58 but missed on her second attempt that gave Aberdeen the final ten seconds of the game. The Bobcats were able to get the ball in play but Eagle guard Smythe was able to break up their attack as the game ran out sending it into overtime.
With another four minutes granted to the game, the Lady Eagles took control of the jump ball, found Cristelli and was on the board. Aberdeen’s Kiana Dixon made good on an awarded one-and-one, again locking the score. Eagle Smythe answered with two as Bobcat Rachael Schermer a landed three. Elma’s McDonald hit back-to-back baskets and the remainder of the game was driven from the foul line. The Eagles had generated a five-point lead as the teams sent each other to the line for the close out points. In the end Elma would also win that battle converting four of seven from the line while Aberdeen was only able to hit twice in their four attempts.
The win brings the Lady Eagles to a 14-3 season thus far as Aberdeen sits at 8-7 in their league. Elma will host Rainier in a boys and girls doubleheader on Jan. 25.
The Eagle girls J.V. also won 52-37 over Aberdeen.