Overton powers comeback

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 18, 2006

ASKEWVILLE – The Lady Eagles of Bethel Christian Academy trailed 26-9 on their home court at halftime of the BACA Holiday Classic and coach Paul Ange felt it wad good riddance for his squad.

&uot;I told my starters that they could expect to stay in the game,&uot; Ange said. &uot;They dug that hole for themselves, it was up to them to climb out of it.&uot;

With starters Kayla Overton and Mindy Miller in foul trouble after two periods, the strategy could have easily backfired on the Eagles skipper.

Fortunately for Ange, his team responded to his decision to ‘not’ coach them at the intermission.

&uot;I was so disappointed in our play in the first half I decided to let them beat up on themselves at halftime,&uot; Ange explained. &uot;&uot;I figured they would be madder at each other than they were at me.&uot;

The decision to allow his players to fume over their own poor play ended up being the catalyst for one of the greatest comebacks in school history as the Lady Eagles rallied in the fourth period to defeat Victory Christian School 45-40.

Trailing 34-21 to start the fourth quarter, Bethel had been out-hustled by the visitors for three quarters.

The Lady Eagles had managed to outscore Victory 12-8 in the third period, but Ange’s team still struggled to make open shots and after several attempts to reduce the Victory lead, the situation looked bleak for the home team.

Kelli Hoggard, who finished the game with a monstrous 18 rebounds, started off the scoring in the final period on a lay up that was triggered by one of eight Mindy Miller steals to go along with 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

On Victory’s next trip down the floor they were again victimized by the ball-hawking Miller who passed to a streaking Erin Young to cut the Victory lead to 11 points.

A Miller lay up with just over six minutes remaining cut the deficit to single digits 34-25.

Three consecutive free throws by Victory put the lead back to double digits and after a pair of free throw by Young the score was 37-28 with 5:42 seconds remaining in the game.

The Lady Eagles came out of a timeout at the 5:20 mark with newly found sense of purpose because for the next three minutes they dominated their opposition like they were angry about something.

Overton stole the inbounds pass and got it to Miller for an uncontested lay up making the score 37-29.

Miller then stole the ball as Victory was in transition and passed to Overton for a lay up making the score 37-31.

On Victory’s next possession Miller got her hands on another errant pass and fed Overton for another lay up making the score 37-33.

Two more buckets for the Eagle senior tied the game at 37-37 with 3:00 remaining in the contest.

Overton wasn’t done, however, as she scored the next four points to put Bethel ahead 41-37 with 1:48 left in the game.

Victory’s Melanie Koerber nailed a three pointer at the 1:30 mark to bring the game back within a single point 41-40.

Overton turned the ball over on Bethel’s next possession and Victory looked to capitalize before Overton stole another pass, her fifth steal of the game, and drove to the basket where she was fouled.

The Bethel standout made both free throws to give her team a 43-40 lead.

With 27 seconds left in the game and Victory looking to launch a three pointer to send the game to overtime, Overton picked up her fifth foul and was forced to watch her teammates try to hold of the stubborn Victory squad.

The senior finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and two assists to go along with her five steals.

Another Victory turnover with 25 seconds left doomed the visitors as Bethel went to into their ‘stall’ offense.

A pair of game sealing free throws by Young were enough to ensure the Lady Eagles the victory.

Afterward Ange was pleased with the outcome.

&uot;It was a great win for the girls,&uot; Ange said. &uot;It’s the first time we’ve defeated this team in several years, I’m very proud of my team.&uot;

Bethel (45): Kayla Overton – 18, Mindy Miller – 14, Erin Young – 10, K. Hoggard – 3

Victory (40): – Sarah Van DeWalker – 10, Ashlyn Nolff – 10, Melanie Koerber – 10, M. Grupp – 6, L. Ward – 2, J. Lawlor – 2