The Alice Lloyd Lady Eagles battled the 20th ranked IU Southeast Grenadiers on senior night for 45 minutes before succumbing in overtime in a dogfight, 68-64.
ALC seniors Chelsee Jarrell (Paintsville), Nicole Lutes (Jackson), and Whitney Frazier (Louisa) were honored before the highly anticipated matchup between the KIAC’s top two teams, and the fans were treated to an exciting, action packed game.
In the opening half, both teams played stellar defense, which caused each club to shoot a poor percentage. At the half, the score was knotted at 23-23.
In the second half, the pressure began to build as the two squads traded buckets. The key play of the half occurred with 7:40 remaining in the game and IU clinging to a 40-38 lead. ALC’s leading scorer and rebounder Ariel Nickell was called for an over the back foul as she went for an offensive rebound. This was her 4th foul. Nickell then received a technical, which counted as her 5th foul, and regulated her to the bench for the remainder of the night. Indiana seized this momentum to vault ahead 43-38, and seemed to have the game well in hand.
However, no one told this ALC’s Lutes that the contest was over, and she proceeded to spark the Lady Eagles to a furious comeback. In one stretch, Lutes sank a jumper, and then swished a bomb from 25 feet. Her intensity rallied her club, and the girls from Caney clawed their way back into the game.
Trailing by four (51-47) with just 1:12 remaining, Lutes came through again as she blocked a shot, garnered the loose ball, and fed the lightning quick Frazier who sped to the goal for a layup. On the next possession, ALC came up with a loose ball, and found Frazier once more. The point guard was fouled on a drive to the hoop, and calmly sank both free throws to knot the score at 51.
IUS held the ball looking for a good shot, but they misfired and gave ALC the ball back. Alice Lloyd got the ball to Lutes who was fouled on a ten foot shot with just 13 seconds remaining.
Showing incredible poise, Lutes swished both to put the Eagles back in front by two (53-51).
The Grenadiers raced down court desperate for a shot. They nearly lost the ball, but found 6’2 Alden Krausse, who was fouled going to the goal with just 4 ticks left.
ALC Coach John Mills then called back to back timeouts looking to ice the shooter. To her credit, the senior Krauss calmly drained both charity tosses to force overtime at 53-53.
In overtime, IU drew first blood as Ashmere Woods sank a bomb. ALC’s Lutes then popped off a screen and incredibly drilled a bomb of her own to knot the score once more at 56-56.
Indiana then went to center Megan Murphy, but the big center surprised everyone by shooting and hitting another 3 point goal to put her club up by 3 (59-56).
ALC found Gemma Gray (Manchester), but her shot rimmed out and was collared by Krausse who was fouled. Once again, she drained both free throws to finally put the game out of reach.
For ALC (13-14, 9-4 KIAC), Lutes played phenomenal in the last 12 minutes of the game, and finished with a team high 14 points. Frazier added 13 points and 6 assists. Gray and freshman Ariel Nickell (Claiborne, TN) added 11 and 10 points respectively. Coach Mills also got a huge effort off the bench from junior Nikki Durman(Lexington) who contributed 8 points, and a season high 11 rebounds. She also registered an incredible 7 blocks.
IUS (24-5, 13-0 KIAC), was led by with Krausse with 16.