COLUMBIANA, OH (WKBN)-In a battle for first place in the ITCL’s White Tier, it was the Columbiana Clippers that came up with a clutch performance in a 68-61 double overtime victory Monday night on the Clippers home court. With the win, the Clippers improve themselves to 17-4, and 6-1 in the league. The Blue Devils drop to 15-5, with an identical 6-1 league mark. Both teams have one more league contest left on their schedules.
“I told them they did a good job, I’m not happy with the way we defended, not happy at all. We made too many mistakes but we won the game because you guys didn’t quit,” Clippers coach Ron Moschella said.
“Lisbon has been a big rivalry for me since my freshman year,” Clippers senior Brynn Pennell remarked. “Coming out tonight we had to be ready, we had to be focused, we had to keep our composure.”
That composure was tested as the two teams played to a 48-48 tie at the end of regulation play. The Devils Chloe Smith hit a backdoor layup with just 3-seconds remaining to send the game into an extra session. That followed a steal by teammate Karlee Pezzano with 12-seconds left.
With the two teams heading into overtime the Devils seemed to hold all the momentum as they led by 3-points with 1:33 left in the overtime when Mackenzie Mason scored a basket to put the Devils up 53-50. But it was the Clippers Tessa Libbett that connected on a three-pointer with 42-seconds left to send the game into a second overtime period.
“I was really nervous when I shot it, but I’m a decently good shooter and it was open so I tried to take the shot,” Libbett explained.
“It’s frustrating to lose a game like that,” Devils coach Jason Thompson admitted. “I felt we had control of the game at the end of the first overtime.”
In the second overtime the Clippers pulled away as they a perfect 10 of 10 from the foul line to outscore the Devils 15-8 in the period. With the game tied at 61, it was the Clippers junior guard Mariah Rovnak who connect on two of her four free throws to give them the final lead of the game with 1:01 left in the overtime.
“Nothing, nothing, I had a clear mind and I just shot them,” Rovnak described what she was thinking at the foul line. “I started out really shaky in the beginning because I was thinking too much and when I think I don’t play very well. At the end I just kind of relaxed and played my game.”
On the night the Clippers penetrating offense forced two Devils players to foul out of the game while connecting on 24 of 37 free throws. The Clippers would also see two players foul out as the Devils were 16 of 25 from the charity stripe.
“I told them that you had an opportunity there that got away,” Thompson relayed to his team. “Keep you heads up. This was a tough game against a very good team and we still have Southern next Thursday.”
“I told them you should be proud of yourself,” Moschella told his team. “You could have lost that game. Any team could have quit, but you didn’t quit, and that tells me a lot. I’m really proud of how hard the kids played.”
Pennell would lead all players with 20 points on the night while Rovnak added 13 and Alexis Cross chipped in with 10. Cross would pull down 8 rebounds along with Khylea Fullum with 8 and Rovnak with 5.
Leading the Devils the night was Hannah Prasco with 17 points while Karlee Pezzano scored 13 and Mackenzie Mason with 12. Pezzano would also haul down 8 rebounds while Mason added another 7.
“We got another game to go against Leetonia to at least tie Lisbon,” Moschella said of the league race.
Columbiana returns to action Thursday night when they travel to Leetonia with a chance to clinch a share of the league title. The Blue Devils will also be on the road in their next contest as they travel to Sebring Saturday afternoon.