Bethel girls’ rally gets them to overtime for dramatic win

CONWAY — The Bryant Blue Lady Hornets eighth grade team of Bethel Middle School rallied from a 18-9 deficit midway through the third quarter to tie the Conway White Lady Wampus Cats then won in overtime, 24-23, to wrap up their 2014-15 season in thrilling fashion Thursday night at Buzz Bolding Arena.

Lauren Burnett hit two free throws with :38.2 left in regulation to tie the game. In overtime, she scored with :31 left to give Bryant Blue a 24-21 lead. After a Conway miss, the Lady Hornets were working the clock before a steal was made in the closing seconds. Forgetting that her team needed a 3 to tie it, the Conway player drove for a layup leaving the Lady Cats a point short.

Burnett finished with 8 points to go with 14 by Mary Catherine Selig. Megan Lee added 2.

The win evened the Lady Hornets record on the season at 7-7. They won five of their last six games.

“It was a great game to end our season,” said Bethel coach Derek McGrew. “I am proud of the year these young ladies had. I want to thank them and their supportive parents.”

Selig snapped the 20-20 tie with 1:29 left in the extra period. A Conway player hit a free throw to cut the margin to 1. The Lady Cats made a steal but were unable to convert. Bethel’s Ashlyn Thompson rebounded and, with 1:01 to go, Selig was fouled. Though she was unable to converted the front end, the same was true at the other end after a Conway player was fouled with :48.3 to go.

Selig pulled up for a jumper in response but the shot rimmed out. Burnett rebounded and, as she was falling down, flipped the ball to Thompson. Her short jumper refused to fall but there was Burnett to grab the carom and score to make it 24-23.

Conway White led 6-2 after a quarter and 16-7 at the half, closing with 9-2 run after Selig had cut it to 7-5.

Burnett opened the scoring in the second half with a free throw but Conway scored to make it 18-9. Over the final 3:35 of the third quarter, Lee’s 15-footer with 1:36 left was the lone basket.

Down 7 as the fourth quarter started, the Lady Hornets scrambled but could not convert following steals by Burnett and Selig. Finally, at the 3:41 mark, Selig was fouled and converted two free throws. After a Conway miss, she would add a step-back 15-footer and it was suddenly 18-15.

Conway’s only basket of the fourth quarter came at the 3:05 mark and made it a 5-point game. That remained the margin as the game went to the final two minutes of regulation.

Burnett scored off an offensive rebound to narrow the gap and the Lady Hornets, who had jumped into a trapping full-court press to start the fourth quarter, forced a turnover. Selig wound up at the line and converted once to make it a 2-point game with 1:45 to go.

Both teams missed chances to change the score. Finally, with under a minute left, Burnett and Rachel Studdard combined on a steal and, with :38.2 showing, Burnett went to the line and converted both ends of a one-and-one to tie it.

Conway missed and Lee rebounded. At the other end, Thompson had a shot blocked but Selig grabbed the carom. McGrew used two timeouts to help the Lady Hornets retain possession against Conway’s pressure defense. After the second, however, the Lady Cats made a steal but missed a shot to win it, setting up the overtime.

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