May 26 • 05:30 PM

Double overtime thriller

Almont girls go home with a double OT win at the expense of Imlay City, 49-47

Dani Reid, of Almont, distributes the basketball during her team’s Blue Water Area Conference encounter with Imlay City last Friday night. photo by Kevin Kissane.

February 10, 2010
TRI-CITY AREA — Almont needed two overtime sessions to outlast host Imlay City, 49-47, in a Blue Water Area Conference varsity girls' basketball nailbiter last Friday night.

With the final, Almont raises its mark to 10-4 and 8-1. Imlay City watches their record drop to 9-5 and 6-3.

"We knew it would be a tough game for us," Almont Coach Steve Edwards said. "Imlay City Coach John Topie always has them ready to play," he noted.

"The win puts us two games up in the race for the league's top spot. We still have a lot of work ahead of us in the next few weeks if we are going to win the conference."

On the opposite sideline, Imlay City Coach John Topie was left wondering what might have been.

"We had a chance to put them away at the end of regulation but our shots didn't fall," Topie said. "It also looked like we had it won in the closing seconds of the first overtime, but they made a big shot to even the score," he noted.

"The second overtime was much of the same. We were up by one point with under a minute left, then they hit a three-pointer to go ahead. Give Almont credit, they made the key shots to pull it out."

In Friday's battle, Almont jumped out to a 13-10 advantage after one quarter had ended.

The next eight-minute stretch would belong to Imlay City.

It was there Imlay City amassed 11 points, while allowing Almont two.

That left Imlay City holding a 21-15 advantage at the halftime break.

When play resumed, Almont started to mount a comeback bid.

Aided by a 12-10 third quarter advantage, Almont closed their deficit to 31-27 at the 24-minute mark.

Almont then struck with an 11-7 fourth quarter advantage.

That squared the scoreboard count at 38 points per side at the completion of regulation play.

The next 3:50 stretch would see see Imlay City generate six points and Almont manage four.

That made it 44-42, Imlay City, with 10 seconds remaining in the overtime.

Almont, in danger of seeing their one game lead atop the BWAC standings disappear, inbounded the basketball with hopes of acquiring the equalizer.

To nobody's surprise, Almont got the ball into the hands of standout Nikki Heim. She dribbled a few times, drawing a pair of Imlay City defenders close to her before throwing a pass across the court. Taylor Askins hauled in the toss, spotted up and drained a 15-footer that proved true as the clock zeroed.

It was Askins' first basket of the evening. And it could not have come at a better time.

"We thought they might try and double team Nikki," Edwards said. "She drew the defenders to her and made a great pass," he noted.

"Taylor then made a clutch shot. It looked good from the moment it left her hands."

Her effort made it a 44-44 ballgame, forcing yet another overtime session.

Like its predecessor, it would be one which had both team's rooting sections on the edge of their respective bleacher seats from start to finish.

It was there Imlay City started things off with a 3-2 run. When Morgan Lee hit a pullup jumper in the lane, capping the run, the Spartans' took a 47-46 lead with 2:11 to play.

The next minute-plus would see the scoreboard count remain unchanged.

Then, with 49 ticks showing on the clock, Askins again came up big for Almont. This time around she connected on an attempt from trifecta territory, giving her team a 49-47 lead.

That would prove the eventual final score as Almont held on to secure a hard fought victory.

Heim led Almont with 13 points, including three field goals of the three-point variety. She was given assistance in the scoring department by Tasha Evans (10 points), Lindsay Ladzinski (nine, rittany Schmalzel (eight), Askins (five, featuring a trey) along with Nicole Gibson and Keeley Creger (two apiece).

Morgan Lee (nine points, with a triple) and Millie Velez (nine) paced Imlay City. The Spartans also had Taelor Webb (eight), Jaclyn Van Dyk (seven), Anne Pawlaczyk and Mandy Lacertosa (six, including a trifecta, each) plus Kali Van Dyk (two) connect.

Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.
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