Clutch free throws lift Allen women

Free throws by Sara Ortiz knotted the score late in the game for Allen Community College before Sarang West went to the line for the game-winner in a 61-60 win over Highland Wednesday. Allen takes a 20-5 record into next week's regular season finale against Labette.



February 22, 2024 - 1:57 PM

Allen Community College's Sarang West, left, corrals the ball in front of teammate Sara Ortiz in a game earlier this season. Photo by Richard Luken

HIGHLAND — A pair of free throws from Sarang West with 8.7 seconds remaining lifted Allen Community College’s women to a 61-60 road victory at Highland Wednesday.

“We knew it was going to be close,” Allen head coach Leslie Crane said. “I didn’t think it was going to be this close.”

Victory wasn’t secured until Highland’s Makayla Lamelle saw her jumper from the free throw line rim out with less than 2 seconds left. The teams scrambled for the ball as the buzzer sounded.

The Scotties led by 6 with under 4 minutes remaining, but ended the game by hitting just 2 of 6 charities.

West’s 3-pointer with 3:28 left pared Allen’s deficit to 56-53. Abigail Alvarez followed with a 3-point play at the 1:56 mark to knot the score at 56-56.

Cameron McNamara restored a two-point lead for Highland with a layup with 1:02 showing before West went 1 of 2 from the line with 25 seconds left to make it 58-57.

Highland’s Kimberly Madrid hit 1 of 2 free throws, putting the Scotties up 59-57.

Sara Ortiz got open underneath for Allen. She was fouled, hitting both free throws to tie the score at 59-59 with 14 seconds showing.

The officials whistled Allen’s Noa Muranaka with a foul before Highland could get the ball inbounded. The Scotties’ Lucy Hardy went 1 of 2 from the line to make it 60-59.

West took the inbound pass and streaked upcourt.  She was fouled as she attempted an off-balance layup, hitting the free throws for the final points of the game.

The charities gave West a game-high 26 points for the night, including 4 of 6 3-pointers and 6 of 7 free throws.

Alvarez came off the bench to score 15.

“It was the free throws,” Crane said. “They definitely make a difference.”

The Red Devils stayed afloat by hitting 9 of 12 free throws in the opening quarter. The Red Devils hit their stride in the second quarter. West’s layup midway through the period capped a 16-5 ACC run and gave Allen its first lead of the night, 28-26. 

Highland ended the half with a 9-4 run to take a 35-32 lead into the break.

Sha’Coria Hill’s layup put the Scotties ahead, 56-50, with under 4 minutes left in the game, setting the stage for ACC’s comeback.

Muranaka scored eight for Allen, with four assists.

Ortiz chipped in with eight rebounds and two steals. Khassidy Warr had eight points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Garneisha Love paced Highland with 21 points, including 5 of 7 from 3-point land.

Allen remains entrenched in second place in the Jayhawk Conference at 8-3.

The Red Devils will wrap up the regular season at home next Wednesday against Labette for Sophomore Night.

Crane hopes to see a large crowd greet her Red Devil players.

“This group of sophomores is very special to me,” Crane said. “We’d love to see local faces in the crowd to help us celebrate.”