Recorder Sports Staff
FONDA -- Twice Friday night against Ichabod Crane, the Fonda-Fultonville Lady Braves pulled a rabbit out of a hat to force a pair of overtime periods.
Once they got to the second overtime, however, the Lady Braves ran out of magic tricks.
Rescued by Cassandra Egelston's banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer in regulation and by an Egelston layup with 10 seconds left in the first overtime, the Lady Braves found themselves down by two with the ball in the waning seconds of overtime, but Monica Derby's off-balance turnaround shot was off the mark and as players tussled for the ball on the floor, the final buzzer sounded in a wild, but ultimately disappointing 59-57 setback for Fonda-Fultonville.
The Lady Braves (3-5, 1-5 Colonial Council) thought they had seized momentum with a wild, controversial ending to regulation. Down nine points with less than two minutes to play, F-F charged back to pull within 42-39 and had the ball coming out of a timeout with 10.7 seconds left to play.
Coming out of the timeout, head coach Wendi Waters' plan was to get the ball to leading scorer Emily Parslow.
"I tried to set up a play for Parslow, and I just said, 'Everybody else, spot up. If you get the rebound, kick it back out," Waters said.
The ball got to Parslow, and while the sophomore's shot was off the mark, Emily Frollo tracked down the rebound and shuffled the ball off to Egelston. The diminutive point guard got her jumper off as the buzzer sounded -- the Ichabod Crane bench vehemently argued that Egelston hadn't released the ball in time -- and banked it in off the backboard to improbably force overtime.
"I knew I was at the 3-point line," Egelston said. "I wanted the ball, and I just kind of threw it up there and hoped for the best."
"I thought when she hit that shot, that gave us the momentum," Waters said. "I thought we had it."
In the first overtime, neither team could establish more than a one-possession advantage, though a pair of Ashley Haywood free throws put Ichabod Crane up 51-49 with 27.7 seconds to play. That's when it fell to Egelston to play the hero again, as Parslow drove to the basket and found Egelston on the baseline for a wide-open layup with 10 seconds left.
That, however, was the last daring escape the Lady Braves could pull Friday night, as Haywood -- Ichabod Crane's freshman point guard -- put her team on her back in the second overtime. Haywood scored all eight of the Riders' points in the second overtime -- and 10 of her game-high 24 points in the two overtime periods -- and her jumper with 58.7 seconds to play ended up providing the winning margin.
The win left Ichabod Crane coach Melissa Voorhis impressed with the resilience of not just her freshman standout, but her entire squad.
"The last-second shot, that was kind of ambiguous -- there was some confusion on the part of whether or not the shot counted -- and I think it kind of got the girls down a little bit. They were thinking they'd won the game," Voorhis said. "I'm really proud of the way they came back and kept playing as a team throughout the two overtimes. That's never happened to me before."
Adding to the frustration for the Lady Braves was the fact that the loss came on a night when the program raised money for the Ronald D. Papierniak Scholarship Foundation. The team raised more than $200 for the fund dedicated in the memory of the longtime F-FCS athletics booster, but despite the frantic ending, the Lady Braves were unable to put the cherry on the top of the night with a victory.
"Crazy game. We did this game tonight for Ron Papierniak, and the girls wanted so bad to win for (his daughter) Megan and (his wife) AnnMarie," Waters said. "They played their hearts out, we just didn't do enough of the smart things we needed to do to win."