The best way to bounce back from a loss is with a dramatic victory. Just ask the Northview Knights.
After getting hammered in their first game of the season versus Mooresville, the Knights overcame a four point deficit in the closing minutes and 6'5 center Julie Whitted hit a 15 foot, buzzer beating jumper to defeat rival Terre Haute South in Friday night's Clabber Girl Classic Tourney.
With just a minute and a half remaining in the game, Terre Haute South had overcome a 56-54 Northview lead on a Brittany Butler 3-pointer and a three-point play from Mallory Kraly to take a 60-56 lead.
Freshman guard Abby Birkey brought the ball up the court for the Knights but was called for traveling. However, she made up for the mistake on the ensuing inbounds to Brave guard Kara Kay.
Birkey pressured Kay into a turnover to return the ball to the Knights and Whitted was sent to the line on a foul. She would sink both shots to narrow the gap to 60-58.
The Braves attempted to run down the clock on their possession but weren't able to get a shot off and the Knights brought the ball up the court with time running out. With just four seconds left on the clock, Whitted got the ball underneath the basket and hit the shot and drew a foul.
Unfortunately she missed the free throw and for a moment it looked as if the game would go to overtime as the ball got caught in a mix of players. However, the ball found its way to Casey Challandes and Whitted pulled the ball free and put up a shot just beyond the free throw line that found the backboard and went home to cue the Northview celebration.
For Whitted, who tallied a game-high 23 points, the shot was beyond her usual range of inside five feet and made the shot even more special.
"For a big girl, she's got a really soft touch," said Knights' head coach Bob Medworth. "In practice when she shoots out there it rarely hits the rim, it's generally a swish."
The Knights got out to an early lead on penetrating drives to the basket in the first quarter, but the Braves started knocking down shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
Butler hit five from 3-point range in the game, and scored 19 points in the contest and held an eight point lead early in the third quarter at 30-22.
But the Knights came roaring back on buckets from Laura McCrea, Whitted and Challandes who had 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
"Casey (Challandes) made some huge hustle plays for us tonight," noted Medworth. "And Abby Birkey, she's a freshman and I think we're expecting some good things from her."
Birkey would tie the score on a drive with 2:10 left in the third quarter and a banked in 3-pointer from Challandes and a drive from her capped a 17-6 run and put the Knights ahead 39-36.
Northview would go up 42-38 on a Birkey 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter, but South would respond with two 3-pointers from Butler to narrow the lead to 53-52. A South turnover would then result in a technical foul on South coach Alan Maroska with 4:02 remaining. Lexee Hayes would sink both free throws before a Kraly jumper would set up South's 8-4 run to take a 60-56 lead setting up Northview's final heroics.
Afterwards, Medworth commented on how important this win was after the loss to Mooresville. "This win is huge. Every year we've opened up against Mooresville and lost big and have been sitting back and wondering how long it's going to be before we got back to .500. That first win always helps."
The Knights got balances scoring as McCrea and Hayes both posted seven points followed by Birkey with five and Jennifer Gregg with four.
With the victory, the Knights move on to face the winner of the Terre Haute North and South Vermillion game played on Friday night. Tipoff is at 11:30 a.m this afternoon at West Vigo High School.
McCrea 3-11 1-1 7, Hayes 2-6 3-4 7, Gregg 2-4 0-0 4, Challandes 5-13 4-6 15, Whitted 10-13 3-4 23, Birkey 2-3 0-1 5, Spugnardi 0-4 1-2 1, Harlan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-54 12-16 62.
T.H. South (60)
Daugherty 4-11 2-2 10, Craft 3-9 0-0 8, Butler 7-16 0-0 19, Harlan 0-1 0-0 0, Kay 2-5 1-2 6, Kraly 5-5 1-1 11, Keyes 1-3 0-0 2, Swain 2-3 0-0 4. Totals: 24-53 4-5 60.
3-point fieldgoals -- Northview 2-7 (Challandes 1-1, Birkey 1-2, McCrea 0-1, Hayes 0-2, Spugnardi 0-1), T.H. South 8-22 (Butler 5-13, Craft 2-5, Daugherty 0-2, Kay 1-2). Total Rebounds -- Northview 33 (Whitted 8, Challandes 7, McCrea 5), T.H. South 31 (Kraly 10, Daugherty 7). Total Fouls -- Northview 10, T.H. South 15. Fouled Out -- Northview (Gregg). Turnovers -- Northview 13, T.H. South 15.