BRYAN – Pettisville displayed a never-quit attitude in battling back from a 10-point deficit with less than four minutes to play to force overtime Tuesday versus Buckeye Border Conference foe North Central in a Division IV sectional semifinal at Bryan. The Blackbirds could not carry that momentum into the extra session, as they fell to the Eagles by a 44-38 final.
North Central’s Kailey Siebeneck made a jump shot near the end of the third quarter, providing her team some minimal cushion at 22-18 entering the fourth.
The Eagles’ Madison Brown started scoring in the fourth with a bucket at the 6:14 mark, then her and Pettisville’s Jessica McWatters each split a pair from the foul line, making the difference 25-19. NC further extended their lead on two free throws by Kristen Hickman, plus an Eagle bucket on an inbound play to make it a 10-point margin with only 3:34 remaining.
However, the Blackbirds refused to go away.
McWatters went 1-for-2 from the line, and Alli King was there for the rebound and putback of the missed second free throw. Pettisville coach Jason Waldvogel then called a timeout with his team down 29-22 with around three minutes to play.
With 2:04 left, McWatters found the bottom of the net on a 3-pointer, getting the Birds within four. But, the real drama didn’t start until their was under a minute to play.
The Eagles were able to keep the lead at five, 35-30, with 20 seconds left following a pair of Lauren Balser free throws and 1 of 2 from Siebeneck. On the Pettisville possession, McWatters was hit shooting a three and proceeded to knock down 2 of her 3 attempts.
To further add to the suspense, they forced an Eagle turnover on the ensuing inbound.
Then, down three with less than 15 seconds to go, Mikayla Graber sunk a trey from the right wing with five seconds left, knotting it at 35 and sending the game to overtime.
However, North Central jumped out to a 6-0 run in OT with baskets by Balser and Brown, then two free throws from Hickman. Pettisville struggled to convert, only striking gold on a McWatters triple with 38 seconds left.
The Birds struggled out of the gate, trailing 8-2 after the opening quarter.
But then it was the Eagles that went over nine minutes without a bucket at the end of the first quarter and into the second. This allowed Pettisville to grab a halftime lead.
They were led in the frame by McWatters, who tallied seven points. Her triple with 2:43 before halftime put the Birds on top 14-12.
A Kendal Bonney basket inside for the Eagles knotted it back up 35 seconds later; however, the Birds reclaimed the lead by halftime via an Elise Hartzler bucket with under two minutes to play.
McWatters finished with a game-high 17 points. Graber added seven for Pettisville, who ends the season with a 3-20 record.
Balser scored 11 for the Eagles (9-14), while Brown and Bonney had nine apiece.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010