BENTON — Emma Lawrence’s buzzer-beating 3-point attempt looked like it was going to give the Benton girls’ basketball team a thrilling last-second victory over rival Shullsburg, but the ball popped out of the cylinder as the horn sounded to leave the Lady Miners on top 39-38 in a Six Rivers West clash at BHS on Thursday, Dec. 14.
“We’ll never apologize for any win against a team like Benton. There’s a lot of emotions in this game from a rivalry standpoint and with the remnants of the co-op. It’s always bittersweet playing against them,” said Shullsburg head coach Nathan Russell, who led the successful Ben-Shulls co-op for four seasons until it was broken up in 2015. “I’m hoping we only play each other one more time this year so maybe some of those demons (we having facing each other) will be done.”
Back-to-back 3s by Lawrence and junior guard Maggie Dougherty put the Zephyrs (5-2 overall, 1-2 SRW) ahead 10-3 early in the game, but the Miners (5-1, 2-1) fired back with seven points off the bench from freshman forward Kayla Klotz and baskets from four of her teammates to slice the deficit to 20-18 at the halftime break.
Shullsburg’s leading scorer, senior center Brianna Leahy, was held scoreless in the first half against a stingy defensive effort by the Zephyrs.
“What a credit to our kids. We had a couple of players really step up at key times tonight,” remarked Russell.
Benton was still ahead 28-23 following a pair of free throws by junior Shay Soppe with 10:30 remaining, however the Miners charged off on a 15-4 scoring burst over the next six minutes to turn a five-point deficit into a six-point lead at 38-32 with just over four minutes to play in the game.
Treys by senior Nicole Teutschmann and freshman Layla Alt early in the second half kept the Miners in the game when the Zephyrs were threatening to pull away, while a pair of baskets by freshman Madison Russell and a clutch 3-pointer by sophomore Calli Jerry helped fuel the run.
After senior Faith Ubersox tied the game at 30 all, Leahy sank her first basket of the game with 6:21 remaining and it was a big one as she buried a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Miners ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Shullsburg would not give up the lead the rest of the way.
“We nickel and dimed it most of the night. Calli’s three was key late in the second half, and Kayla was tremendous early in the first half to keep us in the game. Madison hit a couple of key shots, and Kindle (Cook) and Nicole also had some big shots,” Coach Russell explained. ‘But, ultimately, your best players have to step up and Brianna stepped up to hit that three and give us the lead. To her credit, she never stopped playing well on the defensive side of the ball all night.”
Lawrence sank four consecutive free throws to bring the score to 38-36 with 3:26 to play.
Following a free throw by Leahy that put the Miners back up by three, junior Sophie Dougherty sank a layup to bring the Zephyrs within a point at 39-38 with 16 seconds to play.
The Miners went cold from the foul line by missing four straight free throws– including the front end of two bonus chances– with less than 11 seconds remaining to keep the hosts in the game.
Lawrence got off a potentially game-winning 3-point attempt from the top of the key at horn, but after going halfway down the rim the shot bounced back out to leave the Miners in the lead.
Teutschmann finished with the Miners with 10 points, while Leahy was limited to just four points on 1-of-13 shooting from the field but she tallied 12 rebounds, six blocked shots and three assists to aid the victory.
Klotz had seven points and seven boards, and Ubersox chipped in with five rebounds and four assists for the Miners.
Lawrence finished with a game-high 23 points to lead the Zephyrs. M. Dougherty netted seven points and S. Dougherty scored six points for the hosts.
At Shullsburg, on Saturday, Dec. 16, Faith Ubersox scored all four of her points in overtime, including sinking the go-ahead basket with just 11 seconds to play in the extra session, as the Lady Miners raided the Galena Pirates, 48-45, in a non-conference thriller.
Galena (6-4) built up a 9-0 lead at the start of the game, but the Miners fought back within two by the intermission at 20-18.
Calli Jerry gave the Miners their first lead of the game at 34-32 with 4:33 remaining in regulation, however Pirate sharp-shooter Sydney Schuler buried a pair of 3-pointers to put her team up 38-36 with 2:54 to go.
A basket by Layla Alt tied the game at 38 all with 2:41 remaining. Each team had chances to win in regulation, but were unable to break the tie. A block by Brianna Leahy on a last-second layup attempt by Sami Wasmund sent the game into overtime.
Baskets by Madison Russell and Ubersox put the Miners up 42-38 early in OT, however Schuler fired back with five straight points with under a minute to play to put the Pirates ahead 45-44.
Ubersox gave the Miners back the lead with 11 seconds to go, and Alt scored a layup at the horn on a coast-to-coast inbounds pass from Leahy to make the final score 48-45.
Alt netted 13 points to lead the Lady Miners. Leahy registered her fifth career triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots, and Nicole Teutschmann added eight points.
Schuler buried six 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 26 points.
Shullsburg will participate in the annual Cuba City Holiday Tournament on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 27-29. The Miners will face River Ridge/Scales Mound in a semifinal game on Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. The girls’ consolation game will begin at 2:55 p.m. on Thursday with the girls’ championship game set for 6:05 p.m.
Shullsburg……. 18 21 – 39
Benton………… 20 18 – 38
Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 2, Kindle Cook 2, Kayla Klotz 7, Madison Russell 4, Calli Jerry 5, Nicole Teutschmann 10, Brianna Leahy 4, Layla Alt 5. Totals – 15 4-9 39.
Benton – Maggie Dougherty 7, Emma Lawrence 23, Sophie Dougherty 6, Shay Soppe 2. Totals – 12 12-15 38.
3-point goals– S 5 (Jerry 1, Teutschmann 2, Leahy 1, Alt 1), B 2 (M. Dougherty 1, Lawrence 1). Total fouls– S 18, B 15. Fouled out– B: Soppe.
Galena……........ 20 18 7 – 45
Shullsburg……. 18 20 10 – 48
Galena– Hulscher 2, H. Wubben 2, Wasmund 9, Schuler 26, Muehleip 6. Totals – 18 1-5 45.
Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 4, Kindle Cook 3, Kayla Klotz 2, Madison Russell 4, Calli Jerry 4, Nicole Teutschmann 8, Brianna Leahy 10, Layla Alt 13. Totals – 20 4-9 48.
3-point goals– G 8 (Wasmund 2, Schuler 6), S 4 (Cook 1, Teutschmann 2, Alt 1). Total fouls– G 17, S 11. Fouled out– None.