By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
KISMET — On a night when baskets were not easy for Southwestern Heights or Forgan, the flood gates opened in a frenzied fourth quarter that saw six lead changes and ended with a KaDawn McReynolds shot at the buzzer that split the hands of two Heights defenders and banked off the glass and into the hoop as the buzzer sounded for a 50-48 Forgan win.
If Heights had any regrets, it would have been the first two minutes of each half.
Forgan jumped out to an 8-2 lead early, but the Lady Mustangs responded with a 13-1 run to take a 15-9 lead.
“We got off to a lead, I kept thinking this is great, then I look up and we were down 10,” Forgan coach Brett Trippett said.
Forgan trimmed the lead in the second quarter to as little as two, but the Lady Mustangs were able to keep Forgan’s offense slowed down just enough to take a 22-17 lead at half.
But Forgan owned the first two minutes of the second half and turned four straight Lady Mustang turnovers into points to take a 25-22 lead.
“Coming off halftime hurt us,” Heights coach Barry Mellen said. “We had three minutes with four straight turnovers. The whole second half we are playing from behind. I would rather have the lead. You can do a whole lot more with the ball when you have the lead.”
By the end of the third quarter, Forgan had built a 34-29 lead.
Early in the fourth, the lead grew to seven, but the Lady Mustangs were able to put together another run and tie the game, 40-40.
And then the frenzy began.
Neither team seemed to miss in the final two minutes as the lead changed hands.
Forgan appeared to be poised to claim the road win with 13.8 seconds remaining with a two-point lead, but after Heights coach Barry Mellen took a time out, the Lad Mustangs were able to drain a basket just inside of the three-point line with eight seconds to play to tie the game.
McReynolds took the inbounds pass, drove the length of the court and was blanketed by two Lady Mustangs. She fired up a shot to beat the buzzer, and the shot baked in for the win.
“Thank goodness we executed down the stretch,” Trippett said. “I am proud of what they did. We were trying to run those plays that we scored with late earlier but never executed. Finally we executed them.”
The final 13 seconds were set up in the huddle while Forgan was on defense.
“I told McReynolds, ‘If they score, let’s not take a time out and push it and look for a shot,’” Trippett said. “I didn’t mean for her to shoot it under a girl’s armpit and over the top of another and off the glass, but whatever works.”
Mellen didn’t fault his defense on the final play.
“It was good defense at the end,” he said. “We made her take a tough shot. Any time it banks in it must have been meant to be.”
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