HOPE CARAZZO drives to the hoop in action against Farmington on Feb. 1. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 06, 2012ALTON — In order to be successful, one thing a team must do is learn to win those close, intense games that come along every now and then.
The Prospect Mountain girls' hoop team had one of those games on Wednesday, Feb. 1, as the Timber Wolves played host to Farmington.
Prospect had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and watched it slip away, only to rally back to force overtime.
However in the end, the Tigers used solid foul shooting to put the game in the win column, 56-53.
On the day, Farmington scored more than 30 points from the foul line in a game that lasted close to two hours.
"It's a learning curve," coach Gordon Bilodeau said. "The girls played well, we outplayed them."
However, the Timber Wolves were unable to walk off with the win, as the younger girls continue to learn how to win.
"You hate to take the loss, but that's going to be a great learning tool for them," Bilodeau continued. "If you put them in that situation, they're going to learn."
The game had plenty of excitement to be sure, as fans in Alton more than got their money's worth.
In the opening period, the game was basically back and forth, with neither team able to open up a lead of more than four points.
After Farmington scored to start the game, Ella Montminy drilled a three-pointer. The Tigers came back with a hoop, but a Chelsea Tierney free throw tied the game at four. After a Tiger free throw, a steal and bucket by Sahara Brown gave the Timber Wolves a one-point lead and a Shannon Meyer hoop and rebound pushed the lead to three. The Tigers hit two from the line and Hope Carazzo answered with one for Prospect. A Brown hoop gave Prospect an 11-7 lead, but the Tigers scored the final four points of the quarter and the game went to the second quarter tied at 11.
Montminy hit the first basket of the second, but the Tigers promptly answered. However, a pair of Tierney free throws and back-to-back steals and hoops from Brown pushed Prospect's lead to 19-13.
The Tigers fought back to cut the lead to two, but a Tierney hoop off a Rebecca Krivitsky steal pushed it back to four. The Tigers hit two more from the line before Montminy sunk a hoop for a 23-19 lead. Once again, the Tigers converted on a pair from the line, but a Martha Rasbridge hoop off a Montminy steal on an inbounds pass gave the Timber Wolves a 25-21 lead at the halftime break.
The Tigers hit from the charity stripe to open the third, but back-to-back hoops from Rasbridge pushed the Prospect lead to 29-22. Farmington got three more foul shots to fall, but a Carazzo basket kept the Timber Wolves in the lead. After a hoop and another foul shot for the Tigers, Montminy hit a hoop and Brown drained two free throws to make it a 35-28 game.
The Tigers scored the next four points to cut the lead to three points, but Emily Barrett brought the crowd to its feet when she drained a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the Timber Wolves to the fourth quarter up 38-32.
Two free throws from Carazzo and one from Montminy, plus a Brown basket gave the Timber Wolves a 43-32 lead as the fourth got under way, but the Tigers began to fight back.
The visitors were able to turn their defensive press into foul shots and scored the next 15 points, only four of which were not foul shots. They went ahead on a free throw with 1:20 to play and stretched the lead to 47-43 with 17 seconds to play on two more free throws. Those shots came after a great sequence in which Krivitsky stole the ball in the offensive zone and Montminy and Tierney played great defense on an inbound pass, but the Timber Wolves could not get any points out of the play and trailed by four with the clock ticking down.
Carazzo responded by drilling a three-pointer with seven seconds on the clock and after the Tigers hit a free throw at the other end, the Timber Wolves had 2.7 seconds to tie the game.
Abby Mucher inbounded the ball to Montminy, who found Tierney wide open in the lane and the senior forward drained a runner as the buzzer sounded to send the game to overtime.
Meyer scored the first points of the overtime period, but four free throws and a bucket from the Tigers pushed them in front by four.
A Montminy three-pointer with 23 seconds to go cut the lead to one, but the Tigers hit two more free throws with eight seconds on the clock and Prospect couldn't answer and the Tigers had the win.
Bilodeau was pleased that he got a lot of different contributions off the bench and some relatively balanced scoring, with Montminy leading the way with 13 and Brown pouring in 12. Carazzo had eight, Tierney had seven and Rasbridge had six.
"We just need that third person in double figures," he noted.
The Prospect coach expected the team to bounce back stronger from the tough loss.
"They'll come out Friday and play extremely well," he said.
The Timber Wolves traveled to Raymond on Friday, Feb. 3, and emerged with a 39-36 win over the Rams to head to the final week of the season at 5-11.
Prospect will be in action in the final game of the regular season on Friday, Feb. 10, when Franklin comes to town for a 6:30 p.m. varsity start.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126