Midpark Meteors use OT to escape Amherst Comets

AMHERST — Four quarters wasn’t enough to decide a victor between Midpark and Amherst, so the Meteors used overtime to escape Amherst with a 44-38 Southwestern Conference victory on Wednesday night.

“That was just a great basketball game,” Midpark coach Tom Thompson said. “When we played Amherst earlier this year, we were able to pull away in that one. And I think that was an eye opener for them. I’ve gone against Coach Rositano going back to his days at Admiral King. When you play a team coached by him, you know you’re in for a fight.”

The game was rarely separated by more than one score. And both defenses set the tone with relentless hustle and pressure the entire game.

The big individual matchup was Midpark’s 6-foot-3 Stasha Carey going up against Amherst’s 6-2 Brooke Wallace in the post. Despite Wallace having good moments of her own both offensively and defensively, it was Carey who came out on top. The junior finished with a game-high 20 points. Besides her post game, she also showed great versatility setting up her teammates from the top of the key, and also drifting out to the perimeter to play great defense.

“Those are two of the premeir post players in Northeast Ohio,” Thompson said. “They wanted to take away Stashas’ right side and they did a good job of that. But she responded and adjusted in a big way to everything they threw at her.”

Carey was also a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line — part of an unbelievable 17-for-18 night.

It was Amherst who appeared poised to walk away with the win with a four-point lead in the final minute. Wallace and Sydney Failing led the Comets with 13 points each, while Brianna Shagovac chipped in with six.

The duo of Wallace and Shagovac hit consecutive shots to take the narrow lead late. But Midpark’s duo of Jessica Barnes and Korie Maryo were able to capitalize off of turnovers by Amherst and hit the late baskets to tie it back up. Wallace then missed a highly-contested shot under the basket as the fourth quarter ended.

Overtime belonged almost entirely to Midpark. The Meteors outscored Amherst, 10-4 in the extra session. Shagovac fouled out early , while Barnes was able to hit the shot that put Midpark up by four and forced Amherst into a need-to-foul situation.

“It really knocked us out of our rythym losing Brianna,” Amherst coach John Rositano said. “Overall they just played great halfcourt man-to-man defense and hit their shots late. That’s a great spot shooting team and there’s a reason they haven’t lost a conference game in three years.”

Failing scored 11 of her 13 points in a five-minute stretch in the third quarter. The senior hit two 3-pointers, another highly contested floater down low, and then three clutch foul shots which tied the game.

“Sydney played great and is always a steady inluence for us,” Rositano said. “This was a top-notch high school basketball game and no one deserved to lose. It came down to their foul shots and they were pretty much flawless tonight.”

The teams now have identical 15-4 records. But the Meteors hold both the head-to-head tiebreaker and the better conference record at 13-0 compared to Amhert’s 10-3.

“We have battled all year” said coach Thompson. “Tonight we were able to set screens and had great movement along the baseline. This is a great win to take with us into the tournaments.”

Midpark 44, Amherst 38

Southwestern Conference

MIDPARK — Stasha Carey 5-10 20, Jessica Barnes 5-2 12, Korie Maryo 3-1 8, Meghan Stornes 1-2, Tianna Moody 1-2.

AMHERST — Brooke Wallace 6-1 13, Sydney Failing 3-5 13, Brianna Shagovac 2-2 6, Morgan Dziak 1-3, Sheridan Champe 0-3 3.

-POINT GOALS — M: Maryo; A: Falling (2), Dziak.

Score By Quarters

Midpark(15-4, 13-0) 6 8 11 9 10 — 44

Amherst(15-4, 10-3) 7 6 14 7 4 — 38

Team Statistics

Field Goals — M 13 of 43 (31 percent), A 12 of 41 (29 percent).

Free Throws — M 17 of 18 (94 percent), A 11 of 17 (65 percent).

Rebounds — M 24 (Carey 13), A 23 (Wallace 9).

Turnovers — M 13, A 18.

J.V. — Amherst 31-25.

@MJournalSports

Last Updated: 2/6/2013 11:31:30 PM EST

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