While the Lady Dragons took a strong loss to the Lady Beavers, finishing the night 97-51, the Dragons brought a strong game to Karns that left the gymnasium crowd on the edge of their seats throughout, and finally ended with a Clinton win 58-57.
The stats for the game were incredibly close and illustrate how well-matched the two teams were. Field goal percentages for both teams were only two points apart, 47-percent for Clinton and 45-percent for Karns.
Clinton only managed two more points in the paint than Karns (26-24), and both teams were heavy-handed through the night, between them drawing a total of 35 personal fouls.
Clinton pulled 19 fouls to Karns’ 16. Karns capitalized on its free throws, making 15 of 22, while Clinton could only manage five out of its 11 chances.
Karns made up for their free throws, though, by turning the ball over more times throughout the game.
Evan Winchester was the team’s top scorer, finishing with 22 points. Behind him, in second place, came Jackson Garner with 13 points, and tied for third were Lane Harrison and Trace Thackerson, both with eight. Winchester also finished the night with five steals and a total of fourteen rebounds. Lane Harrison was number one on free-throws for the night, going three for five.
The most interesting part of the game was the end. The final thirty seconds on the game clock took fifteen minutes and the atmosphere was electric throughout the gym. Both teams vied for a single point on the other, until Karns made a basket and pulled a foul shot with ten seconds left, putting them up by two. If they made the foul they’d be up by three.
Ten seconds left on the game clock, Evan Winchester drove down the court for a layup, tying the game again with six seconds left. Karns got the ball and tried to do the same, but missed the shot. The buzzer rang.
The overtime was a slow-going affair. Both teams were careful, and when the teams were quiet, so was the crowd. Between the quiet moments, short bursts of sharp, intense energy brought the crowds to their feet. Fouls were abundant, and it seemed evident the game would be decided more by free-throws than anything else.
This was confirmed when the score became a one-point difference after a Karns foul shot early on. When Clinton gained the lead, they had the opportunity to widen the lead by two, but missed, keeping the lead at a point. Not long after, Clinton fouled again, and Karns gained two more free throws, gaining the lead.
With nine seconds left in the overtime and Clinton down by one, Karns fouled Lane Harrison, giving him two free throws. The pressure was on. He sunk one. He sunk another. Clinton was up by two.
Just like the end of the fourth quarter, Karns received the ball and drove hard down the court, trying for a fast layup to put them in the lead, but, just like in the fourth, they missed. The buzzer sounded – and Clinton cheered.