WILMINGTON — What a finish to the Ohio Athletic Conference battle Wednesday night at Fred Raizk Arena. The Wilmington Fightin’ Quakers lived up to that nickname, posting a dramatic 80-76 victory in overtime against Muskingum.
Wilmington (14-6 overall) maintains its hold on second place in the OAC standings with a 10-3 mark. Muskingum (10-10 overall) is now 6-7 in the OAC. Wilmington sweeps the season series with the Muskies, after posting a 67-60 victory on Jan. 11.
In the overtime, the two teams were tied at 66, 69, 71 and 73 before Muskingum grabbed a 76-73 lead with 30 seconds to go. Emily Harman hit a couple free throws with 15 seconds to play, 76-75, then Brittaney Jefferson made the play of the game, stealing the inbound pass at midcourt and racing to the bucket for a driving layup that gave WC a 77-76 lead with 11 seconds to play.
“Unless we do something big and make something happen, we’re probably gonna lose the game,” WC head coach Jerry Scheve admitted after the victory. “What an effort by Brittaney to come up with the steal and get the basket. It was great play and the girls really reached back for something extra down the stretch.”
Ja’Cole Tabor made two free throws and Savannah Hooper had one in the final seconds to secure the four-point win.
It was a see-saw game with a total of 16 times and the lead changed hands 18 times before WC got its last lead on the Jefferson layup.
It was a dismal start for Scheve’s squad, before a boisterous crowd, but home fans of the green and white did not have a lot to cheer about in the early minutes of the contest.
“For whatever reason, we just came out flat and didn’t shoot the ball well,” said Scheve. “Give credit to Muskingum. They are a very good team offensively and we knew were going to be in for a fight right up to the final buzzer.”
The Quakers struggled to shoot the ball with any success in the opening half. However, Wilmington led 29-25 when Morgan Ritz drained a three-pointer at the 3:55 mark.
But Muskingum went on a 7-0 run to end the first half and held a 32-29 advantage at the break.
That deficit evaporated quickly, though, as Wilmington came out of the lockerroom on fire with a 13-3 scoring spree. Wilmington led 42-35 and seemed to be in control.
The Muskies, though, wouldn’t go away. In fact, visiting Muskingum took the lead 58-56 with 3:10 to go in the fourth quarter.
With 12 seconds to play in the fourth, Hooper made a layup to tie the game and send the teams to overtime.
In his final analysis, Scheve felt the biggest difference for his squad was their ability to control the boards by claiming the rebounding battle, 55-43. Wilmington had a big edge on the offensive board, 21-12.
“I feel the 21 offensive rebounds really told the story for us,” said Scheve. “We got a lot of points off second chances (21) and all the girls were fighting for the missed shots tonight.”
Before she fouled out of the contest in the overtime period, Moyer pulled down 11 rebounds.
Wilmington had three players score in double figures, with Mackenzie Campbell leading with 19, Jefferson added 15 and non-starter Emily Harman added 10.
February 1, 2017
@Fred Raizk Arena
Wilmington 80 Muskingum 76 OT
(76) MUSKINGUM (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Taylor 5-0-8-18 Clark 2-0-0-4 Smith 7-2-3-19 Besancon 1-0-5-7 Carson 3-1-4-11 Parkman 2-0-0-4 Mose 3-2-0-8 Stocker 1-1-0-3 Fennimore 0-0-0-0 Payton 1-0-0-2 Gossett 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 25-6-20-76
(80) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Harman 4-0-2-10 Moyer 2-0-0-4 Jefferson 6-2-1-15 Andracki 3-0-0-6 Campbell 8-0-3-19 Murphy 0-0-0-0 Hooper 3-1-1-8 Ritz 3-1-0-7 Smith 1-0-0-2 Tabor 3-0-3-9. TOTALS 33-4-10-80
FIELD GOALS: W 33-82 (Harman 4-5); M 25-71
3 PT FIELD GOALS: W 4-23; M 6-19
FREE THROWS: W 10-15 (Tabor 3-3 Campbell 3-4 Harman 2-2); M 20-23 (Taylor 8-10)
REBOUNDS: W-55 (Moyer 11 Tabor 6 Hooper 5 Campbell 5 Andracki 5 Jefferson 5 Harman 5 Smith 4); M-43 (Taylor 11)
ASSISTS: W-20 (Campbell 6 Moyer 4 Andracki 2 Smith 2 Tabor 2); M-7
STEALS: W-7 (Jefferson 2); M-2
BLOCKED SHOTS: W-3; M-4
TURNOVERS: W-11; M-12
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet