Times Sports Editor
FARMERSBURG -- North Central (Farmersburg) is banking heavily on the future of its freshman class of girl's basketball players and on Monday evening the Class of 2016 was well represented in a 39-37 victory over visiting Clay City.
North Central freshman Ivy Mangrum knocked home a jumper coming out of a timeout with under a minute remaining to give her team the victory. Clay City had a last chance to even the score, but turned the ball over with less than 10 seconds left. Lady Birds' frosh Gabby Kreischer was able to inbound the ball and elude Clay City's attempts to foul her while running out the clock for the victory.
"I like their younger players, they play hard and good or bad they play the next possession. They did a really good job of playing through things," Clay City coach Chris Ames said. "Young teams make mistakes and (North Central) was definitely the aggressor all night."
The Eels carried the momentum into the fourth quarter after getting a jumper from freshman Alisha Steward, who followed with a score off a North Central turnover. Logan Ellinger wrapped up a 7-0 run with a driving lay-in to end the period with Clay City in front 29-26.
"That was one thing, at halftime we were really disappointed with our effort," Ames said after North Central opened the third period with an 8-2 run. "We came out in the third quarter a little sluggish, got momentum there a little bit with a 7-0 run on them. We felt good about things, we talked about getting stops to start the fourth quarter. You have to give North Central all the credit in the world, they did an excellent job scoring at the end."
Trailing by three points, North Central played beyond their years to start the fourth period as 5'8 freshman Tory Swalls scored to open the period and junior Gracey Caddell scored off an Eels' turnover to put her squad in front 30-29. Mangrum turned another Eels' mistake into a lay-up as North Central capped a 6-0 run for a 32-29 advantage.
The Eels scrapped right back as Steward finished off a 12-point game with a jumper and junior Alex Wolfe scored to put the Eels back in front 33-32 with 4:10 remaining. Clay City had a chance to increase the lead after a North Central turnover, but missed the opportunity. North Central answered with a 3-pointer from freshman Taylor Netherlain to put the Lady Birds in front 35-33.
Clay City would get an offensive rebound and a put back from Wolfe, who had eight points and seven rebounds, and a score from Ellinger on the break. The Eels led 37-35 with just 1:25 left in the game, but Kreischer scored on a jumper that banked home and the Lady Birds got the ball back, calling a timeout with 47 seconds remaining.
Coming out of the break, Mangrum sank her eventual game-winning jumper as North Central finished the game hitting 6-of-11 fieldgoals in the fourth period.
"To start the fourth quarter we're up and we give up, two out of the first three possessions, we pretty much give up easy lay-ups," Ames said. "Then we get back down, fought back, they hit two shots the last two possessions of the game. Out of five possessions to start the fourth (quarter) and end the fourth they score eight points. In a tight game like that, it will pretty much be the game. When you turn the ball over 20 times in basically a 50 possession game things aren't going to go your way on most nights."
The Eels' junior varsity team earned a 22-12 victory as Alexis Price had eight points, Emily Rogers tallied four along with Nakisha Cass.
Clay City drops to 3-6 overall, 1-3 in the SWIAC, with a home contest on Thursday against Union (Dugger) beginning at 6 p.m.
At North Central
Clay City (37)
Steward 6-11 0-3 12, Wolfe 3-12 2-2 8, Decker 0-3 0-0 0, Truax 1-4 0-0 3, Ellinger 5-13 0-0 10, Rogers 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 1-4 0-0 3, Durga 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 17-49 3-7 37.
North Central (39)
Kreischer 5-10 2-4 12, Netherlain 2-5 0-0 6, Swalls 1-4 2-4 4, Kennedy 1-12 0-0 2, Mangrum 5-9 1-2 11, Carrio 0-0 0-0 0, Caddell 1-2 0-0 2, Miller 1-1 0-0 2, Crumrin 0-1 0-0 0, Pritchard 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-44 5-10 39.
3-point fieldgoals -- CC 2-10 (Miller 1-3, Truax 1-3, Ellinger 0-4), NC 2-8 (Netherlain 2-4, Mangrum 0-2, Kreischer 0-1, Caddell 0-1). Total Rebounds -- CC 28 (Wolfe 7, Ellinger 5, Steward 5), NC 32 (Kennedy 9, Mangrum 6). Total Fouls -- CC 10, NC 10. Turnovers -- CC 20, NC 23.