A well-executed screen was the difference Wednesday night between North Callaway and Harrisburg.
The Ladybirds came back from a 24-18 deficit after three quarters in their consolation round game against the Lady Bulldogs in the Centralia Invitational to take a 28-26 lead with less than a minute to go. Brecca Thornhill found a lane to the hoop with about 20 seconds left to give Harrisburg the game-winning bucket and North Callaway a 30-28 loss.
Head coach Tim Turlington said North Callaway had its chances down the stretch at the free throw line but couldn’t take advantage. The Ladybirds went 2-for-10 at the foul line.
“We had our chances but just couldn’t quite get it done,” Turlington said. “Hopefully, next week, we’ll get over the hump.”
Freshman Natalie Shryock had a game-high 11 points on three 3-pointers and four steals for North Callaway followed by four points each from seniors Kyanne Kellerman and Ryelle Schmauch and sophomore Riley Blevins. Kellerman also had eight rebounds, and Blevins had four assists. Thornhill led Harrisburg with nine points while Carli Ellis added eight points.
After North Callaway (2-3) was locked in a defensive battle that ended up being its lowest scoring game since its 33-23 loss last season at Elsberry, the Ladybirds appeared to be turning the offensive corner based off the first minute of the fourth quarter.
Schmauch secured a takeway at midcourt before finishing the fastbreak herself then Shryock hit a wide-open 3-pointer seconds later to make North Callaway’s deficit 24-23 before the clock reached seven minutes.
Field goals became scarce the rest of the way, but North Callaway was able to tie the game at 26 with about 3:30 to go after a Shryock floater off a bounce pass from sophomore Abrielle Burgher. The Ladybirds then took the 28-26 lead with less than a minute to go after Burgher navigated to the middle of four Lady Bulldogs (3-1) before banking in the left-handed hook shot for her lone bucket of the game.
Harrisburg’s Charlea Winscott nailed some clutch free throws to tie the game at 28 with 53 seconds left. Harrisburg had possession again with about 40 seconds left, which ticked down to 21 after Thornhill used a screen from Emma Fischer to lay in the eventual game-winner uncontested around the right side.
Reigning district champion Harrisburg led the Ladybirds 10-4 after the first quarter and 18-12 at halftime, scoring its lowest amount of points in a game since its 50-29 loss last season against Centralia in the Harrisburg Tournament.
North Callaway (1-0 EMO) continues its Eastern Missouri Conference schedule on Tuesday at Van-Far (1-3, 1-0 EMO) with junior varsity girls starting at 4:30 p.m. and varsity girls following right after.