There were 185 points scored, 43 fouls called, 88 rebounds controlled and 61 free throws attempted.
Allen County Community College’s women could have folded up their tent in the first half down 22 points. Or even after a big push at the start of the second half to get within 10 only to see Neosho County Community College’s Panthers push their lead back to 22 with 13:06 left in the game.
But the Red Devils didn’t and almost pulled out an improbable victory at home Wednesday night. It was a one-point game with 5.5 seconds left.
Neosho County’s Angela Johnson hit two free throws to put her team up 94-91 at the 4.8-second mark. The Panthers used full-court, man-to-man pressure on the inbounds play.
Allen County never got a good look at a possible tying three-pointer. The Panthers walked out of the ACCC gym with a 94-91 victory in Jayhawk Eastern Division play.
“After the first half we had, I just told the girls to go out, play hard and have fun in the second half,” said Andy Hamilton, Red Devil head coach.
“And that’s what they did. Our kids had fun playing in the second half and we almost pulled this one out.”
The Panthers started out on fire. They hit their first seven three-point field goal attempts and were 7 of 11 in the first half from long range.
“They were hitting everything they put up. We weren’t playing poorly defensively,” Hamilton said.
The game started at 2-2 with Breanna Shaw scoring for Allen County. With back-to-back threes, Neosho County jumped in front 10-2 which blossomed into a 28-9 lead by the 9:27 mark.
Nicole Rockhold sank both ends of a one-and-one for ACCC to make it 30-13. A three-pointer by Danielle Best and two free throws by Kynesha Nisbett pulled Allen County to within 32-18 with 7:38 left in the first half.
The Panthers quickly pushed it back to 40-18. Allen County went on a 15-10 run to finish the half and trailed 50-33.
The Red Devils went 12 of 21 from the free-throw line in the first half. Hamilton talked of how hard the Red Devils worked to get to the line then didn’t convert.
Dysyan Malone, who led all scorers with 25 points, did exactly what Neosho County’s Johnson did to open the second half. Both had opportunities for a three-point play but didn’t hit free throws.
Allen County didn’t miss many free throws in the second half, 12 of 17. For the game, the Red Devils were 24 of 38 at the charity stripe while the Panthers were 13 of 23.
Jennifer House scored inside for Allen County followed by a basket from Malone and two free throws. Shaw nailed a three-pointer at the 17:35 mark to make it 54-44.
Bjonee Reaves, who hit four threes on the night, connected and then had a drive to rim for the Panthers. Neosho County, which used full five-player platoons to keep fresh players on the floor, extended its lead to 69-47 with 13:06 remaining.
Enter 5-4 guard Aeriss McNeese. McNeese had back-to-back three-point plays for ACCC, one coming after an offensive rebound. McNeese scored nine of her 13 points over a two-minute span.
With 10:21 on the clock, the Red Devils looked at a 75-59 deficit.
“We told the girls to go out and win every five-minute segment. There was no 17-point play for us. We just had to chip away, chip away and chip away,” Hamilton said.
Maurissa Shaffer had a three-point play for ACCC to make it 79-62. Down 82-64 with just under eight minutes to play, the Red Devils came storming back.
Shaw touched off the 15-point run with a putback. Malone and Jazmynn Johnson scored consecutive baskets.
Malone’s field goal cut the margin to 10 then Johnson had three-point play at the 4:46 mark. The only interruption was a basket by Reaves as the Allen County defense stood firm.
Malone knocked down two charities and scored a basket to close the gap to five, 84-79, with 3:17 left.
Riley Stephens, a Uniontown High product, nailed a three for Neosho County for a 90-81 lead.
Johnson scored on the inside then Malone had a steal and layup. Johnson’s short jump shot cut the margin to three with 50 seconds left.
Kristin Aldridge hit two free throws for the Panthers. A free throw by McNeese and a three-point basket by Shaw at the 5.5-second mark made it 92-91.
“Our kids played hard and competed the whole game. Rebounding hurt us. Neosho had a 50 to 38 margin on the boards,” Hamilton said.
Shaw finished with 20 points and four steals for ACCC. Malone had four assists with her 25 points. McNeese had three rebounds.
Johnson scored 11 points and had seven rebounds. Shaffer ended up with 10 points. Allen County shot 49 percent, 31 of 63, from the field.
Sydnee Henderson led the Panthers with 22 points followed by Aldridge with 17. Reaves scored 16 points. Neosho County shot 50 percent, 36 of 72, from the field.
Allen County dropped to 1-5 in conference play and 7-11 overall. The Red Devils, playing their seventh game since the Christmas break, go to Coffeyville (5-1, 15-3) Saturday. It’s a 2 p.m. tipoff.
Allen County (33-58—91) (FG/3-pt): Shaw 5/2-4-3-20, Shaffer 4-2-2-10, Malone 8/1-6-4-25, Best 0/1-0-1-3, McNeese 4-5-9-13, Rockhold 0-3-1-3, House 1-0-2-2, Nisbett 1-2-4-4, Johnson 4-3-3-11. TOTALS: 25/5-24-20-91.
Neosho County (50-44—94) (FG/3-pt): Scott 0-0-1-0, Babcock 1/1-0-1-5, Stephens 0/2-0-1-6, Standlee 0-0-2-0, Aldridge 4/1-6-4-17, Johnson 2/1-2-3-9, McKinney 1-0-1-2, Garner 2-0-1-4, Reaves 1/4-2-3-16, Jackson 1-0-0-2, Harper 1-1-4-3, Ornelas 3-2-2-8, Henderson 11-0-0-22. TOTALS: 25/9-13-23-94.
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