Kristen Tyler (#22) goes up for a rebound with Sarah Kennedy #23)
CLAY CITY -- Mother Nature didn't do the Clay City Eels any favors by breaking their momentum with a Thursday snowstorm. The Eels came into last Thursday by beating their last five opponents by more than 20 points per game. The snowstorm postponed the game against the Miners and the Eels didn't get a chance to play for a week leading up Monday's contest versus North Central.
The Eels led in the early going but North Central slowly overcame a five point third deficit and came out on the winning side of a fourth quarter that featured five lead changes and four ties for a 49-46 victory.
"We had a lot of opportunities but we didn't convert," commented Keith Jones. "We'd get the ball in the right spot but we couldn't convert."
Indeed, the Eels pounded the boards in the first quarter, getting six rebounds and eight points from Sarah Kennedy in the period to hold a 16-12 advantage. But in the second half, the Ladybirds neutralized the Eels rebounding edge and got the ball in the paint to draw fouls.
After the game was tied at 35-apiece heading to the fourth period, North Central went to the line 13 times in the final quarter compared to just four for the Eels. Following a tying Kennedy jumper, Krista Himebrook gave the Ladybirds the lead with two free throws. Mardi Steiner would miss a late 3-pointer for the Eels and Jacilyn McClain pulled down the rebound and was fouled with 7.3 seconds left.
She would hit one-of-two free throws and an offbalance Kennedy 3-pointer at the buzzer was short.
"We had some turnovers that hurt us late in the game," Jones said. "They are a fairly quick teams. We haven't faced anyone that quick this year. We didn't take care of the ball, we hurt ourselves."