Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- There's nothing like a rivalry game to boost the temperature of a players' blood and add a little extra excitement to a basketball game and that was exactly the case as Linton visited Clay City for a double-conference girls' game on Thursday night.
The fans got their money's worth, literally and figuratively in a game that included a buzzer beating lay-up and plenty of drama as Linton was able to edge out the Eels 58-54 in a double-overtime thriller.
The Eels were able to hold Linton star center, Stephanie Fougerousse, to just 10 points over the first three quarters, which was key after the senior posted 34 points and 23 rebounds against Eastern (Greene) in the Miners most recent game. However, the powerful center wasn't going to stay quiet regardless of the Eels efforts down the stretch as she added 19 combined points in the fourth quarter and two overtimes to boost the Miners' cause.
Clay City coach Chris Ames, while disappointed in the loss, acknowledged the excitement of the battle between two natural rivals.
"It's a close rivalry, it's a double conference game for us and you know, we had a game plan and the girls and out assistants did a good job with it," Ames said. "They did a good job of preparing and we just came out on the short end of the stick. Stephanie Fougerousse is a great player and hard to stop and (Linton) goes to their strength, but they had girls step up just like we did."
The Eels got plenty of balance and needed every bit of it as three starters fouled out in the extra sessions, but the bench came up big to keep Clay City battling.
Clay City overcame a seven-point deficit to start the fourth quarter as Carmela Roeschlein scored six of her team-high 18 points in the period. Allie Miller came up big with a three-point play to get the Eels within 36-33 and an Abby Reed 3-pointer got the Eels to 40-39 with two minutes remaining.
Fougerousse added a free throw and Alex Daluga scored a bucket to push the gap to 43-40 with under a minute. The Miners had a shot to clinch the game, but Savannah Mason and Bre Alsman both missed a pair of free throws. Following back-to-back turnovers, Reed scored off a putback with 3.7 seconds remaining to get the Eels within 43-41.
The Miners then made a huge mistake, stepping over the endline on the inbounds pass to turn the ball over and give the Eels a last gasp. Roeschlein made it count as she was fouled on a drive and sank two free throws to send the game into an extra session.
To say the Eels' bench players came up big in overtime would be a gross understatement as leading scorer, Roeschlein, picked up her fifth foul early in the first overtime. Kelly McCullough drilled a 3-pointer to give the Eels the lead on her fifth-point, but then drew her fifth foul and went to the bench.
With both teams in the bonus at the free throw line, the march to the stripe began as Fougerousse hit two for the Miners and Eels' freshman, Madison Booe, came in to hit three of them, the last two tying the game with 22 seconds left.
The Miners went right to their strength, getting the ball to Fougerousse under the basket and she drew the foul, hitting both free throws with 3.2 seconds left.
The Eels had a slim shot at the tie as Fougerousse guarded Booe at the baseline, but the freshman found an open lane and throw a pass Peyton Manning would be proud of, to a racing Brielle Drelick who tied the game with a lay-in at the buzzer.
"It was a great toss," Ames said. "When we designed that, (Madison) is who we wanted to take it out. She made a great pass and we had great execution and I'm sure (Clay City softball coach) Roger Rhodes was happy to see that throw as well.
Ames was also quick to credit a bench that stood toe-to-toe with the more experienced Miners, who improved to 5-1 this season.
"I will say this tonight, Madison Booe, coming in, she gets her reps and she's in a tough spot and she plays both ways for us," Ames said. "She did a fantastic job and I always say that those bench people and all of the girls in our program have to be ready to go and they did a great job after having three players foul out. I was really proud of them."
In the second overtime there was just a little too much of Fougerousse, who scored to open the session and added two more free throws to follow two free throws from Drelick. Trailing 55-53, Drelick hit one-of-two free throws with 30.8 seconds remaining before Mason added a free throw for a 56-54 lead.
The teams traded turnovers before the Eels missed a final tying shot and the Miners hit a lay-up at the buzzer to pick up the wild victory.
Drelick had 11 points for the Eels, Reed had seven and Allie Miller posted eight for Clay City. Fougerousse added 23 rebounds to go with her 29 points and hit 13-of-14 free throws in the fourth quarter and overtimes.
Linton also won the junior varsity contest, 23-22 with the Eels getting eight points from Booe, four from Kaleigh Decker and four from Danielle Gossage.
The Eels (4-4 overall, 2-1 TRC, 2-1 SWIAC) host North Central on Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. in a varsity only game.
At Clay City
Daluga 4-12 0-0 9, Mason 4-8 1-6 9, Riggleman 3-6 0-0 6, Robinson 1-7 0-0 3, Fougerousse 7-17 15-19 29, Beard 0-2 0-0 0, Wells 1-2 0-1 2, Overton 0-0 0-0 0, Alsman 0-0 0-2 0. Totals: 18-54 16-29 58.
Clay City (54)
Roeschlein 5-18 4-4 18, Drelick 3-10 5-7 11, Reed 3-6 2-2 7, A.Miller 3-5 1-1 8, McCullough 2-10 0-0 5, S.Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Booe 0-3 3-4 3, Dayhuff 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-53 15-19 54.
3-point fieldgoals -- Ln 2-7 (Daluga 1-2, Robinson 1-5), CC 7-22 (Roeschlein 4-12, Reed 1-1, A.Miller 1-3, McCullough 1-4, Booe 0-1, Drelick 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Ln 39 (Fougerousse 23), CC 28 (Drelick 8, McCullough 4). Total Fouls -- Ln 18, CC 24. Fouled out -- Ln (Daluga), CC (Roeschlein, A.Miller, McCullough). Turnovers -- Ln 15, CC 13.