MURRAY – The Lady Mustangs found a way to survive and advance Thursday out of the first round of Class 1A Region 6 thanks to some late-game heroics.
With 11 seconds to play Murray’s Bre Klein grabbed a missed Stanton free throw and dribbled the ball up the floor.
Klein crossed over at half court, drove down the right side of the paint, through multiple defenders and put a shot off the glass that fell with 2.5 seconds to play, giving Murray the 44-43 win.
“Honestly, I threw that up and hoped to God it went in,” said Klein, who finished the game with a team-high 19 points. “I knew there was only like three seconds left on the clock and I knew the further I went in there was just more of them.”
“And thankful to God it went in because I did not think that was going in,” added Klein.
After two Murray timeouts, Stanton had to go the length of the floor to try and win it, but the Lady Mustangs defended the inbound pass well and tipped away a hail mary attempt down the floor as time expired.
“It was a prayer and it got answered,” said Murray head coach Jerry Shields.
The Lady Mustangs led by one heading into the final minute, but Hope Ogletree drew a foul in the bonus and sank both ends of a 1-and-1 with 31.8 seconds to go to put Stanton up 43-42.
The Viqueens had two more attempts at the line late, but neither fell, allowing Klein to hit the game-winning basket.
It wasn’t a clean game for the Lady Mustangs, who had put together three convincing wins to close out the regular season.
Murray battled with turnovers throughout the night, trying to work the ball inside, but Stanton collapsed on the Lady Mustang post players and swiped a number of steals.
The win pushes Murray into the Class 1A Region 6 quarterfinals where they will take on Diagonal in Diagonal after the Maroonettes toppled Essex 53-30 (see accompanying recap).
The two squads will meet just eight days after Murray pulled out a 48-26 win on its home floor, but Shields knows the Maroonettes won’t be an easy foe.
“It’ll be different down there. ... They won’t shoot like they shot here,” said Shields. “We’ve got to be able to slow them down.”
“No turnovers. That was our big thing tonight,” said Klein. “It’s always hard to beat a team in their home court.”
Murray turned the ball over on six of its first eight possessions of the game to start things.
A 10-6 game after a quarter saw both offenses start to figure things out in the second period.
The Viqueens started to find their rhythm in the second quarter, knocking down deep 2-pointers in soft spots of the Lady Mustangs 2-3 zone.
Murray led 18-15 midway through the second quarter, but Stanton closed out the half on a 10-4 run after eight combined points from Hope Ogletree and Kami Tibben, going into the locker room with a 25-22 lead.
Kendra Boles put together another nice game for the Lady Mustangs, hitting the first bucket of the contest and eventually scoring a total of seven points.
Boles had a number of dishes inside to Klein in the second and third quarters that set up easy looks at the rim.
“From about the second half of the season on she has done a tremendous job,” said Shields. “The last few games she’s been getting a lot of assists too, especially out of that high post area being able to feed the low post.”
Stan (43) — 7 18 7 11
Murr (44) — 10 12 11 11
STANTON (FG FT PTS) — Totals —17 9-14 43. Kami Tibben 6 4-8 16, Hope Ogletree 4 5-6 13, Kaitlyn Bruce 4 0-0 8, Tara Peterson 2 0-0 4, Madalyn Johnson 1 0-0 2. 3. 3-point goals — None. Team fouls — 17. Fouled out — None.
MURRAY (FG FT PTS) — Totals —18 8-18 44. Bre Klein 9 1-4 19, Ally Waske 3 3-5 9, Kendra Boles 3 1-2 7, Britta Callstrom 3 0-0 6, Bailey Frederick 0 2-2 2, Hailey Chew 0 1-3 1. 3-point goals — None. Team fouls — 17. Fouled out — Boles.