POTOSI — It looked grim. It just wasn’t Potosi’s night.
Trailing by 17 points at the half against league-leading Benton/Shullsburg everyone assumed Potosi was headed for an eighth straight conference loss, by a decisive margin.
Everyone except Potosi head coach Mallory Mau and her Chieftains that is.
Struggling Potosi fought tooth and nail on defense and caught fire on the other end of the court in the second half, outscoring the visiting Zephyr/Miners 22–11 in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
Potosi’s stunning comeback fell short of a true Cinderella story as Benton/Shullsburg, ranked eighth in the latest wissports.net poll, survived the scare and pulled out a 70–67 overtime victory to remain in a first-place tie with Belmont.
Benton/Shullsburg (16–3, 7–1 Six Rivers West) raced out to an 18–4 lead and appeared to be in complete control throughout the opening 16 minutes. The co-op team hit seven 3-pointers in the first half and led by as many as 23 points in the second quarter.
Potosi closed the half on an 8–2 run as Taryn Stappert and Maddie Hawes hit 3-pointers and Taylor Bloyer hit a pair of free throws with 10.8 seconds to pull the Chieftains (4–12, 0–8 SRW) within 17 points at 36–19.
“We went in at halftime and decided that we were not out of the game,” said Mau. “We pulled together as a team and fought back hard. It was a mentality everybody needed to have to stay in the game. We shut down their shooters and played great man to man defense and started to hit some shots on our end.”
Potosi chipped away at the lead, outscoring Benton/Shullsburg 19–13 in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 11 at 49–38 entering the fourth quarter.
Bloyer scored 13 points in the second half, and junior Calie Gibson added eight and Hawes scored seven in the second half to spur the comeback.
Gibson hit a pair of free throws to play to pull Potosi within a point at 59–58. Hawes picked up her fourth foul moments later, but Shullsburg/Benton missed both from the line.
After a Potosi miss on the ensuing possession, Hawes fouled out with 33 seconds left. Benton freshman Emma Lawrence made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 60–58.
Potosi freshman Abby Kaiser answered with a driving layup to tie the game with 22 seconds left.
The Zephyr/Miners missed two shots in the final 10 seconds as Potosi held on to force overtime.
In the extra session Lawrence converted a three-point play to open the scoring. Potosi’s Brooke McKillip hit a 3-pointer to retie the game.
Lawrence scored a layup and after a Potosi turnover Payton Bastian made 1 of 2 from the line to make it 66–63.
Gibson scared scored inside to pull Potosi within a point, but Lawrence made a pair from the line with 49 seconds left to push the S/B lead to 68–65. Gibson made another layup with 38 seconds left and Potosi’s Sophia Langkamp came up with a steal to give Potosi a chance to take the lead. But the Chieftains turned it over on a traveling call with 21 seconds left.
S/B’s Hattie Rennert made a pair of free throws with 20 second left to account for the final score.
Potosi had an opportunity to tie with a 3-pointer, but turned the ball over on an in-bound play and time expired.
“I thought the girls did amazing things in the second half and it showed on the court,” said Mau. “We were smiling, having some fun, playing solid defense and running an offense. Everything just started to click with everyone out there and with our bench play.
“We can’t hang our heads about this game. Yes, we came out short but we finally proved to ourselves that we can do some really great things.”
Hawes finished the game with 17 points, six assists and three rebounds before fouling out.
Bloyer scored a season-high 13 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Gibson finished with 12 points, two rebounds and two assists. Kaiser had eight points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Potosi snaps six-game skid
Monday night Hawes and Gibson combined to score 45 points as the Chieftains blew out host De Soto 75–37 to snap a six-game losing streak.
Hawes finished with 23 points and eight assists. Gibson added 22 points, four rebounds and four assist. Kaiser chipped in 15 points.
Potosi hosted Albany Tuesday night and will now host Highland on Friday before hosting Black Hawk on Monday. The Chieftains will close out the regular season Feb. 19 against Cassville.
Benton/Shullsburg 70, Potosi 67, OT
(from Thursday, Feb. 5 @ Potosi)
Benton/Shulls. 20 16 13 11 10 — 70
Potosi 9 10 19 22 7 — 67
Benton/ Shullsburg (16–3, 7–1) — Montanna Burmeister 5, Hattie Rennert 10, Emma Lawrence 22, Maggie Neis 2, Bailey Redfearn 3, Kayla Dougherty 8, Payton Bastian 16, Emily Morrissey 4. Totals — 19 23-36 70.
Potosi (4–12, 0–8) — Taryn Stappert 6, Abby Kaiser 8, Maddie Hawes 17, Taylor Bloyer 13, Brooke McKillip 5, Sophie Langkamp 6, Calie Gibson 12. Totals — 23 12-18 67.
3-point goals — B/S: 9 (Burmeister 1, Rennert 2, Lawrence 2, Redfearn 1, Dougherty 1, Bastian 2); P: 8 (Stappert 2, Hawes 3, Bloyer 2, McKillip 1, Gibson 1). Team fouls — B/S: 16, P: 24. Fouled out — P: Hawes, Stappert.
Potosi 75, De Soto 37
(from Monday, Feb. 9 @ De Soto)
Potosi 22 18 28 7 — 75
De Soto 10 7 13 7 — 37
Potosi (5–12) — Taryn Stappert 3, Abby Kaiser 15, Maddie Hawes 23, Taylor Bloyer 3, Hannah Udelhoven 2, Brooke McKillip 3, Sophie Langkamp 2, Shakyla Udelhoven 2, Calie Gibson 22. Totals — 26 17-25 75.
De Soto (3–14) — Not available.
3-point goals — P: 6 (Hawes 2, McKillip 1, Gibson 3). Team fouls — P: 17, D: 21. Fouled out — none.