A barnburner in White Pigeon went two extra periods Friday with the Chiefs’ gutting out a 54-50 victory over Centreville in St. Joseph Valley League girls action.
“Surviving,” White Pigeon coach Jeff Baechler said after the game when asked how his heart was doing. “My goodness, what a game. We shot the ball terrible and I think we were 24-for-41 from the free-throw line. But a win’s a win, so we’re going to be happy.”
Trailing 25-11 at halftime, Centreville cut the deficit in half by the end of the third quarter. In the fourth, Madison Hunter drilled a 3-pointer with five seconds left to push the game to overtime. White Pigeon missed an opportunity at the foul line to win it right then and there.
Baechler said both teams were a little tentative in the first OT en route to three points each.
“It wasn’t pretty,” he said. “We just kept missing so many free throws. We just came down and made some really unintelligent moves offensively. We are trying to teach these kids to have a purpose — to think and react.
We were just reacting. With our head down we were dribbling into double-teams; we were making a lot of poor decisions. But you know what? We hung in there and got it done.”
Skyler DeMeyer and Rachel Brock connected on triples in the second extra frame for White Pigeon (6-4, 1-2 SJV) to seal the deal.
Haley Miller led the Chiefs with 16 points, Brock finished with 12, Bethany Hagner added eight, DeMeyer and Allie Bailey had seven apiece, and Sydney Harmon chipped in four. Miller grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds for a double-double and Brock paced the squad with four assists.
“It was definitely a tough one,” Miller said. “I mean, double overtime just shows you how tough it was. My only regret was that I couldn’t finish because of fouls. It’s nights like tonight that show why conditioning, team bonding and mental toughness are everything.”
Hunter registered 14 points and eight boards for the Bulldogs (2-10, 0-3 SJV). Jenna Beeker put up 12 points, four assists and a pair of steals and Bailee May notched 10 points, eight rebounds and a block. Faith Morell finished with two points, eight rebounds, a block and two steals, Mattie Kirby and Rudie Crawford tallied four points each, and Becky Clementz and Catherine Rigby added two apiece.
“Even though we didn’t come away with the win, I’m proud of the way our girls fought tonight,” Centreville coach Jill Peterson said. “After trailing by 14 at the half, we showed our perseverance and determination to stay in the game and force the overtimes. We hit some big shots and stayed focused when the pressure was on. I’m excited to see what the rest of the season holds.”