Pelham girls win overtime thriller despite late Helena comeback

Published 4:11 pm Monday, January 14, 2019

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA – The moment Helena and Pelham stepped on the basketball court the night of Jan. 11, it was evident both teams were up for the challenge in a big rivalry area game that didn’t disappoint, as the Panthers came away with an exciting 42-38 overtime win.

Led by eighth grader Laci Gogan’s 19 points, the Panthers overcame a late Helena comeback to outscore the Huskies 8-4 in the overtime period to pick up its first area win of the season.

The first meeting between the two teams this season saw Pelham lead the large majority of the game as the Panthers held a 17-12 lead at halftime and a four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The final period was where things got interesting.

The start of the fourth quarter saw Helena go on a 6-1 run as Autumn Edmonds hit a big 3-pointer with 4:15 remaining to give the Huskies a 27-26 lead. Edmonds was one of two Helena players to finish in double figures with 10 points.

After losing the lead, Pelham regained its composure by going on a 7-0 run in the next two minutes highlighted by Gogan’s 3-pointer from the corner with 2:05 to play to regain a 33-27 lead.

Unfortunately for Pelham, with a youthful roster also comes inexperience as the Panthers had a tough time closing the game out down the stretch.

Trailing 34-28 with 32.2 to play, Helena stepped to the free throw line where they converted one shot. However, on the following inbounds play Helena forced a turnover which led to a layup to cut Pelham’s lead to 34-31 with 20 seconds to play.

Following a timeout, Helena forced another steal which led to a layup to cut the lead to 34-33. Seconds later, Helena made 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game with 7.4 seconds to play. Pelham had one last opportunity to win the game but the shot went off the back iron and the game headed to overtime.

Fortunately for Pelham, Gogan knocked down a big 3-pointer with 2:29 to play in overtime to extend Pelham’s lead to 38-34. To ice the game, she also made another basket to make it 40-34 as the Panthers closed out the game in overtime.

Pelham’s first-year head coach Crosby Morrison was proud of the way her team stepped up in overtime.

“Before going into overtime, we lost our starting center and we lost one of our good guards that usually starts for us so it was tough, but they composed themselves and got some good shot selections that we had been wanting all night,” Morrison said. “My eighth grader stepped up big and knocked down some big shots and we got some crucial rebounds in overtime that helped us.”

Morrison complimented Gogan for her composed play against Helena.

“Obviously she’s young being in eighth grade but earlier in the season we faced some close games in tournaments and things like that that she was in, in end game situations, and we made some mistakes and the game got away from us,” Morrison said. “Tonight, she settled down, composed herself and the game slowed down for her a lot. She played a lot older than she is tonight.”

With the win, Pelham improved to 1-1 in area play. Helena also sits at 1-1 in area play after the loss.

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