NOTEBOOK: Murphy law: Sideline bank shot lifts EC


By Mark Huber - [email protected]

SPRINGFIELD — Jayden Murphy is a shooter.

And most shooters have a pretty good idea when they let the shot go if it’s going in or not.

A coach with a good angle also knows.

Neither Murphy nor East Clinton head coach Bill Bean had a clue on Murphy’s last three-pointer of the game.

In East Clinton’s thrilling 50-46 overtime win against Marion Pleasant Wednesday night at Springfield High School, Murphy had six of her 10 points in a couple minute span of the fourth quarter.

The first three-pointer put the Astros on top 35-33, a lead that seemed miles away as Pleasant went on a 19-2 run in the first half.

The Spartans went back on top 39-37 shortly thereafter but Murphy eyed the basket again from beyond the three-point line. She was right in front of Bean and the EC bench as she let go of her high-arcing long-distance attempt.

“I didn’t think it was close,” Bean admitted after the game. “I had a (good) angle … I didn’t think she’d draw iron (hit the rim). I thought she was shooting an air ball.”

Murphy could feel Bean breathing down her neck as her shot headed toward the basket.

“I thought it was … my mind was going crazy,” an elated Murphy said after the game. “I didn’t think it was going in. I thought I’d turn around and Billy would … “

She stopped, maybe recalling the shot which ever-so-lightly kissed off the glass (a smooch in honor of college basketball announcer Bill Raftery) and went in. East Clinton led 40-39. The Astros lost that lead, but not their confidence. Kelsi Lilly had a dribble-drive to tie it, 42-42. In overtime, after making just 4 of 12 free throws to that point, EC hit 4 of 7 at the line in the extra session and punched their ticket to the Region 12 championship game Saturday afternoon.

“I never really lost hope,” said Libby Evanshine, who had 16 points, eight rebounds, five steals, three assists and three blocked shots in a stat-stuffing performance. “We’ve become a second half team.”

• East Clinton went up 6-0, scoring off transition baskets generated by its defense. The half-court offense, though, struggled in the first quarter and much of the second.

“We were a little impatient,” Evanshine said. “It was hard to focus. It was loud in there. It was hard to hear Billy.”

• The Astros shooting touch was on a come and go basis in this one. They made their first three, missed the next 15, made their next four. The result was a 28-19 halftime deficit. In the end, they were 19 for 40 from the floor.

• East Clinton’s defense gets much of the credit for the win. Pleasant seemed lost on offense as the Astros ratcheted up their defensive pressure.

Jordan Collom and Lauren Runyon keyed the defensive effort that held the Spartans backcourt starters to just 11 points after halftime.

“We completey went away from the zone (defense) in the second half,” Bean said. “We shut them down in the second half.”

• East Clinton will play in the Region 12 championship game Saturday against Purcell-Marian, led by freshman Dee Alexander. She averages 25 points a game, is tall, can handle the ball, rebound, score. She does it all.

Purcell-Marian was a Division III Final Four team last season, losing to eventual state champ Berlin Hiland 47-40.

By Mark Huber

[email protected]

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @wnjsports

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @wnjsports