ZEPHYR — May’s Shayla Stephens sank a pair of free throws with 60 seconds remaining to cap an 8-1 run by the East, but Blanket’s Hailee Musick countered with a bucket with 39 seconds left to a force a tie, which eventually led to overtime and a 62-57 victory for the West squad at Friday night’s Don Hardin Small School Shootout.
Even at 49 at the end of regulation, the West team converted 13 of 17 free throws in overtime to account for all its points, while the East sank just 1 of 4 tries in the extra session. For the game, the West nailed 23 of 42 free throws, while the East was 17 of 36 at the charity stripe, and a total of five players fouled out.
With 1:53 remaining in regulation, the West appeared in control of the contest with a 46-41 advantage. East head coach Jym Dennis of Rochelle employed a full court press, however, and a quick traditional three-point play by Ira’s Samantha Bloom, coupled with a long distance trey from Aspermont’s Emilea English, knotted the score at 47 with 1:08 to go.
Stephens followed with another steal and was fouled in the paint, then buried two shots at the free throw line to push the East in front, 49-47.
Following a crucial East turnover late, Musick delivered her only bucket for the West in the closing minute to keep its hopes alive.
In overtime, Lazbuddie’s Shyann Rainey sank two free throws at the 3:06 mark to push the West back in front, 54-52, and the lead only grew from there — peaking at a game-high eight points, 61-53, with 57 seconds remaining.
The game was nip and tuck throughout the contest as, after the West built a 15-12 lead through one quarter, the game was even at 21 at halftime, 34 after three quarters and 49 after four periods.
The West’s Britni Parker of Anton was named the offensive player of the game with 15 points, which tied her with Rainey for the team-high. Kasidy Polk from Aspermont, who played for the East, was selected the defensive player of the game.
Also contributing offensively for the West were Cailin Neudorf of Hart and Ashton Mason of Lazbuddie with nine points each, April Villarreal of Valley with six, Zulema Delgado of Amherst and Musick with three each and Bailey Wood of Hedley with two points.
Stephens led the East with a team-best 14 points while fellow May Lady Tiger Shelby Honea chipped in four points. English scored all 10 of her points in the fourth quarter or overtime, trailed by nine from Raquel Wortham of Calvert, eight apiece from Bloom and Shelli Hardaway of Prairie Lea and one point apiece from Polk and Rochelle’s Trisha Mitchell.
The second annual Don Hardin All-Star Weekend concludes with the Texas Bowl at 7 p.m. tonight at Zephyr’s Bulldog Stadium. The six-man football game pits All-Stars from public schools against those from private schools.