Irish down Panthers in OT, 79-69
The best offensive performance of the season wasn’t quite good enough for the Concordia Panthers.
Concordia topped its season scoring average by nearly 30 points, but still suffered a 79-69 overtime loss to the Chapman Irish in a North Central Kansas League matchup Friday night in the Concordia High School Gymnasium.
The Panthers had two players score 20 or more points, and knocked down eight three-points shots in the game.
Terin Rundus, a 31 percent free throw shooter connected on two free throws with no time left on the clock to tie the game at 62-62 and force overtime.
Chapman, opening with a 13-1 run, dominated the extra period, outscoring Concordia 17-7 on its way to the win.
Concordia, now 3-14 overall and 0-8 in league play, went into the game averaging just under 40 points per game, but playing more aggressively and with a little more freedom than in previous games, surpassed that mark by midway through the third quarter.
“I definitely had more fun coaching that,” Concordia coach Michael Wahlmeier said, “It was a definite learning experience for us. They learned that just getting to overtime wasn’t enough. They have got to rachet up the intensity a notch and finish the game off.”
Trailing 35-31 at halftime, the Panthers opened the second half with a 17-6 spurt, and led 50-41 when reserve Abby Donovan hit from eight feet with 1:06 to play in the third quarter.
Consecutive baskets by McKenna Kirkpatrick left Chapman trailing 50-45 heading into the final period.
Kirkpatrick led all scorers with 27 points.
Ashlynn Bledsoe, who finished with 22 points for Irish, scored the first two of the fourth quarter to close the gap to 50-47.
Katlynn Miller answered with a three to give Concordia a 53-47 advantage.
Miller connected on five threes in the game, and scored 20 points.
Chapman scored the next seven points, and reclaimed the lead at 54-53 on a three by Kirkpatrick with 4:34 to play in regulation.
There would be three lead changes over the next 59 seconds.
A jumper by Kendall Reynolds put the Panthers on top 57-56.
Reynolds tossed in a career-high 22 points in the game. She also grabbed 14 rebounds.
A basket by Bledsoe and two free throws by Peyton Suther, who scored 22 points, gave Chapman a 60-57 lead with 39 seconds on the clock.
Reynolds banked in a three-point shot to tie it up at 60-60 just 15 seconds later.
Bledsoe scored on a drive, and Chapman led 62-60 with 14 seconds to play.
Miller misfired on a jump shot, but Rundus was able to come up with a loose ball and was fouled going up for a shot as time ran out.
Rundus, standing at the free throw line with nobody else around, buried both free throws to tie it up and force overtime.
“I was super proud of Terin for walking to the line in that situation,” Wahlmeier said, “She jokingly said ‘Oh great the 13 percent shooter is on the line to send the game to overtime.’ Terin’s heart, and everything we love about Terin was on display at that time. She did not give up on the play. She got the ball and then got in there to get the foul, and then walked to the line and knocked them both down. That was huge.”
Bledsoe scored inside and then hit a three early in the overtime to give Chapman a 67-62 cushion.
Chloe Conway made one of two from the free throw line, and Concordia trailed 67-63 with 2:41 on the clock.
Chapman, hitting five of eight free throws, scored seven unanswered points in 1:26 to go up 74-63.
Miller halted the run with a three that made it 74-66 with 54 seconds left.
The Irish put the game away by connecting on five of eight free throws.
Conway joined Reynolds and Miller in double figures with 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Rundus added nine points and 11 rebounds.
Chapman led 20-15 after one quarter of play, and was on top 25-18 two minutes into the second period.
With Reynolds, Miller and Zoe Bechard knocking down threes, the Panthers used a 12-0 spurt to take a 27-25 lead.
Chapman outscored the Panthers 10-3 over the final 2:47 of the first half, and led 35-33.
The Panthers roared back in the second half to go up by nine points, but couldn’t hold off the Irish.
Concordia plays the second of fourth straight home games to finish up the regular season when it hosts Phillipsburg on Tuesday night.
Meuli 0-1-3 1, Kirkpatrick 12-2-3 27, Adams 0-1-1 1, Suther 4-12-1 22, Bledsoe 9-2-3 21, Anderson 2-3-4 7. Totals: 29-21-15 79.
Bechard 1-1-5 4, Donovan 2-0-1 4, E. Wahlmeier 0-0-4 0, Conway 4-2-5 10, Reynolds 10-0-3 22, K. Wahlmeier 0-0-3 0, Rundus 3-3-2 9, Miller 7-1-5 20. Totals: 27-7-28 69.