WILMINGTON -- The President never shows, fans don’t wear military uniforms, and none of the spectators are seen doing push-ups, but coach Gregg Morrow still compares Leland & Gray versus Twin Valley to a certain college football rivalry.
And with the game on the line on Tuesday evening, he didn’t mind senior Ashley Goddard being the workhorse.
Goddard scored five of her team’s seven points in overtime, leading the Rebels to a 48-46 overtime victory over the host Wildcats.
"This is just like Army-Navy," said winning coach Gregg Morrow. "We’ve always had really good games here. It’s fun to play here. You can throw the records out the window when these two teams meet."
Trailing by 11 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the visitors went on a 20-9 surge to force a four-minute overtime. Alex Morrow scored in the lane with a pretty, left-handed hook, and Goddard made five free throws as the Rebels earned the thrilling victory.
"Goddard was money from the line, especially in overtime. She basically salted the game away for them," noted Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. "The crowd was as animated and supportive as I’ve seen here. It was a great atmosphere for the kids."
The hosts built a 25-16 lead in the first half, thanks to Lexi Reinertson’s domination on the defensive glass and a sharp-looking offense -- they were patient, moved the ball around quickly and got good looks.
The early highlights for the Wildcats were: Colton Butler’s drive and dish that set up Reinertson for an easy bucket, Abbi Molner’s Princeton pass to Butler for a backdoor layup, and a pair of swishes from downtown by Jordan Niles.
Molner took over early in the second quarter, as the slashing forward scored in transition, buried a trifecta from the left wing and then finished a two-on-one break to put Twin Valley up 20-8 at the six-minute mark.
"We got a nice lead and looked good in the first half, but conversely Leland & Gray played a better second half," added Hayford.
Did they ever.
Alex Morrow made three freebies and a short jumper and Haley Buffum found her stroke -- drilling a 15-footer and then a 3 -- to get the Rebels within 34-30 at the end of the third quarter.
Molner connected from downtown to open the fourth, but then Goddard made two free throws, before Chelby Nystrom splashed a rainbow-like shot from beyond the arc and also finished a break to tie the score at 37-37 with six minutes remaining in regulation.
A mid-range jumper by Goddard and a nice move across the lane by Niles resulted in the only other field goals in that quarter. And the teams would head into the OT knotted at 41-41.
A freebie by Goddard and the sweet hook by Morrow put the visitors up by three, before a triple from Niles re-tied the score and had the Twin Valley student section going bonkers. But Goddard would calmly sink four consecutive free throws to put the Rebels up 48-44, and a layup by Reinertson with 15 seconds left capped the scoring.
Goddard and Morrow each scored 13 points to pace the 9-10 Rebels, while Buffum finished with 11. Niles scored a game-high 16 for the 7-12 Wildcats and Molner added a dime’s worth.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.