By JASON EPP
• Leader & Times
After trailing the entire game, Kenzi Taylor made two free throws with 25 seconds left to tie and give Forgan a 45-44 lead to cap a frantic 12-point fourth quarter comeback. And as Shattuck’s Daniella Galindo’s three missed just as Taylor Longhofer’s put back shot did, a celebration broke out for the Forgan Lady Bulldogs. But a whistle meant the game was not over as Longhofer was given two free throws with no time left on the clock. She sank them both, and the hearts of Forgan fans in attendance, as the Lady Indians advanced to the Oil Center Classic finals with a 46-45 win.
“It’s our own fault,” Lady Bulldogs coach Brett Trippet said. “We fell behind and put ourselves in that bind to have to come back, and it was too little, too late.”
Forgan scored nearly just shy of half of their 45 points in the fourth quarter (22), and double their output from the entire first half (11).
“We slept through the first three quarters, and then decided to play hard in the fourth,” Trippet said. “You can’t do that. We didn’t have enough defensive intensity early to be able to pull the game out. We were aggressive and attacking them late and drawing defenders so we could kick it back out for open threes, and play the game like it ought to be played. It just took us to the very end to do it that way.”
Shattuck took advantage of Forgan’s sluggish start, and built an eight-point lead in the first quarter, and stretched it to 10 at the break, 21-11. Shattuck also used the three-point line to build a lead, hitting 8 of 15 from beyond the arc.
The Lady Indians pushed the lead to 12 in the third, in part, because they hit four threes in the quarter. Kenzi Taylor helped keep the Lady Bulldogs within striking distance with 21 points and 18 rebounds, thanks, in part, to KaDawn McReynolds (13 points), who hit four threes in the second half to help open up the paint for Taylor and Lindsey Trippet (8 points).
Four free throws by Galindo gave the Lady Indians a 44-37 lead with less than two minutes left. But back-to-back threes by Trippet and McReynolds quickly got the Bulldogs back within one. Forgan’s Gabby Morales stole the ball on the next possession, and got it to Taylor for the, although short lived, go-ahead free throws.
In their next matchup Forgan faced Sharon-Mutual, who lost to Mooreland 55-44, Saturday for third place.