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It wasn’t easy, but the Oliver Springs Lady Bobcats kept their season alive Friday night with a 40-34 victory at Midway in the opening round of the Region 2-A Tournament.
“The key is to survive and advance. It was an ugly win, but we did just enough to win,” Lady ‘Cat head coach Michelle Christopher said following the game. “We knew it was going to be tough coming in. Midway’s done a great job this season, and winning on the road is always tough.”
Friday’s game was close throughout as both defenses made it tough to find the basket.
Oliver Springs didn’t scored their first point for nearly three minutes when Rachel Griffith hit a free throw. Midway’s first point didn’t come until the 2:41 mark when Alexis Taylor hit a free throw to make the score 4-1.
Midway’s Abby Bertram and Oliver Springs’ Emily Griffith scored later in the frame as the Lady ‘Cats led 6-3 after eight minutes of play.
The second period would see the offenses pick up the pace. The Lady ‘Cats pushed their lead to 14-10 early in the frame, but Midway then went on a run that gave them the lead when Rachael Tuttle buried a three-pointer with 3:20 left in the first half that made the score 15-14.
Midway would stretch that lead to 17-14 before Oliver Springs scored the final four points of the half to take an 18-17 lead at intermission.
Emily Griffith had a big first half for Oliver Springs with 11 points while Tuttle buried two three-pointers and scored six points to lead Midway.
Midway opened the second half with a basket to regain the lead at 19-18, but Oliver Springs responded with a 7-0 run to take a 25-19 lead. The teams traded points the rest of the period to leave the Lady ‘Cats holding a 29-25 lead heading into the final period of play.
The Lady ‘Cats kept the pressure going early in the final period as an old-fashioned three-point play from Emily Griffith gave the Lady ‘Cats their biggest lead of the night at 34-27 with 5:34 left to play.
Midway, however, refused to quit. Alisa Barger buried a three-pointer with 4:41 left to play that cut the lead to 34-30, and then with 2:09 left to play Barger hit a pair of free throws that made the score 36-34.
Oliver Springs then tried to open the door for the Lady Waves as they turned it over on two straight possessions, but Midway couldn’t take advantage. The Lady Waves committed a turnover of their own with 1:38 left to play and then missed a jumper with 55 seconds left that would have tied the game.
The Lady ‘Cats then held on to the ball and closed out the game at the charity stripe. Kellie Ball hit a pair of free throws with 23.1 seconds left to make it 38-34, and then after a Midway miss, Alix Giles hit a pair of free throws to finish out the game.
Emily Griffith led Oliver Springs on the night with 19 points and four steals. Macy Martin was next in line with six points, nine rebounds and three steals.
Tuttle led Midway with eight points while Jessie Lewis (6 points, 9 rebounds, 6 blocks, 3 steals) and Taylor Whitehead (6 points, 4 rebounds) were next in line.
With the victory, Oliver Springs advanced to the Region 2-A Tournament semifinals and a match-up with Wartburg. The Lady ‘Cats swept the Lady Bulldogs on their way to winning the regular season district title, but Wartburg beat the Lady ‘Cats on their way to the District 4-A Tournament title last week.
“Wartburg is tough and they’re playing their best basketball of the season,” Christopher said. “But this is the game our kids want. They don’t like to get beat and they’ll be focused on taking care of business next time.”
The semifinal game against Wartburg was played on Monday.
Oliver Springs (40) E. Griffith 19, R. Griffith 3, Ball 4, Martin 6, Giles 4, Snellings 2, K. Morgan 2.