Elyria’s Mary Jones tied her career high with 29 points, including five free throws in overtime, as the Pioneers posted a hard-fought 53-49 win over the Bulldogs on Monday night.
Jones was part of a 10-for-12 team effort from the free throw line in overtime after the Pioneers hit just 3-of-9 in the 32 minutes of regulation.
“We were a real good free throw-shooting team at the beginning of the year, but lately we have been in a stretch of not being very good,” Pioneers coach Mike Walsh said. “For us to go 10-of-12 in the overtime is really great, especially at that time of the game and in that situation.”
The overtime free throw sharpshooting was necessary after Olmsted Falls (8-9) wiped out Elyria’s six-point lead with less than two minutes left in the fourth.
Jones scored three straight baskets for Elyria (12-6) for a 41-35 lead, then took two straight charges and went to the free throw line with 2:20 left with a chance to ice the game.
Jones missed both, and Jessica Koch drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead in half with 1:53 on the clock. A driving basket and free throw by sophomore Kerri Gasper tied the game with just over a minute left. Gasper led the Bulldogs with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
A Sierra White layup gave Elyria a lead, but Hannah Hammeren scored just eight seconds later to tie the score at 43.
A steal by Jones gave the Pioneers first crack in the extra four minutes and the miscue was cashed in when White knocked down the first two free throws for a 45-43 lead.
Jones added four free throws to go with three from freshman Shayla Middlebrooks, who blocked an Olmsted Falls 3-point attempt, gathered in the rebound and went to the line to give Elyria an important three-point lead.
“That was a good block, she got it clean, grabbed the rebound and was able to get to the free throw line,” Walsh said. “It’s really a different game having a three-point lead versus a two-point lead.”
The Bulldogs got within 52-49 with seven seconds left, but on cue, a free throw from Jones ended the drama.
“That was really a lot of fun,” Jones said. “We didn’t make some very good choices down the stretch and we paid for those mistakes in the fourth quarter.
“I think we really focused in during the overtime. We realized the situation, made the extra pass and I wanted the ball at the end of the game. It’s my role to help attack the basket and make good decisions.”
Despite the loss, Bulldogs coach Matt Fulton was thrilled with the effort of his team.
“We didn’t have a very good effort against Midpark on Saturday and I told the girls all we can really control is how hard we go on the floor,” Fulton said. “We didn’t come out on top, but Elyria is a great team and you have to sell out if you want to beat a team as good as them.”
Elyria 53, Olmsted Falls 49 (OT)
ELYRIA (53): Sybil Roseboro 4-0-11, Shayla Middlebrooks 0-4-4, Mary Jones 11-6-29, Jocelyn Spraggins 1-0-2, Sierra White 2-3-7. Totals 18-13-53.
OLMSTED FALLS (49): Hannah Hammeren 3-2-8, Kerri Gasper 5-7-17, Marie Jacobs 2-0-4, Melilssa Holcomb 3-0-7, Samantha Buck 0-1-1, Heather Mueller 1-0-2, Jessica Koch 2-1-6, Savanajh Black 2-0-4 . Totals 18-11-49.
Elyria 8 12 13 10 10 — 53
Olmsted Falls 11 2 13 17 6 — 49
Three-point goals: Elyria 4-10 (Roseboro 3, Jones); Olmsted Falls 2-8 (Holcomb, Koch); Field goals: Elyria 18-45 (40 percent); Olmsted Falls 18-52 (35 percent); Free throws: Elyria 13-21 (62 percent); Olmsted Falls 11-24 (46 percent); Rebounds: Elyria 28, Olmsted Falls 42; Turnovers: Elyria 13; Olmsted Falls 19; Fouled Out: Olmsted Falls, Koch.
Junior varsity: Elyria, 41-19.
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or email@example.com.