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Hardin-Central learned some things on Tuesday night in a 52-37 home loss to Southwest. The Lady Bulldogs took those lessons into Wednesday night’s weather-delayed Braymer Invitational title game when they once again met the No. 7 ranked Lady Wildcats and pulled off a 44-43 overtime victory.
It was a rematch of a rematch. Last January, the Lady Bulldogs and Southwest met for the Braymer championship with the state-ranked Lady Wildcats taking a 40-34 victory.
On Wednesday, the Lady Dawgs got Southwest out of its normal game plan and as a result put the Wildcats into early foul trouble. Hardin-Central was shooting the bonus at the free throw line with just 1:36 left in the opening period, and the double bonus with 5:15 remaining in the half.
“That was one advantage of playing them the night before,” Hardin-Central Coach Ken Layman said. “Tuesday, we played them pretty tough for three and a half quarters. When they made their run, it was off their pressure. Our whole plan Wednesday was to have them play a half-court game. They’re an aggressive team and they go after a lot of things. We made them play defense and gave them an opportunity to get in our bodies, which they did.”
Hardin-Central hit 16 of 28 free throws for the game, while Southwest was 6 of 10. More importantly the Lady Bulldogs hit 3 of 4 free throws in the overtime.
Allison Oyler, who ended the game with 12 points, hit both of her attempts with 14.7 seconds left for Hardin-Central’s final points of the game. Southwest had one last attempt with 1.5 seconds remaining, but sophomore Quincy BeVelle missed the front end of a one-and-one and time ran out during the battle for the rebound.
Despite its foul troubles, Southwest still held an 11-9 lead after the opening 8 minutes, but the Lady Bulldogs fought back to open up a 26-20 advantage at the half.
The Wildcats were able to get back in their comfortable attack mode in the third quarter as they used a pressure defense to turn a 28-20 Hardin-Central lead into a 30-29 Southwest advantage with 30 seconds left in the period. Southwest held a 32-31 lead entering the final quarter.
The Wildcats opened up a 6-point advantage early, but the Lady Bulldogs would not go away as field goals by Frankie Chilcutt and Megan Layman tied the game 39-39 at the end of regulation.
Southwest got the first bucket in overtime and Layman’s steal and layup got the lead back for Hardin-Central with 47 seconds left. Caitlin Cramer’s basket with 25 seconds remaining gave Southwest its final lead of the night.
Layman had 11 points for the Lady Bulldogs, now 9-3 for the season, with Chilcutt adding 8. Angelica Bradley and Lindsey Arbogast chipped in 5 each, and Hannah Noelker added 3 for Hardin-Central. Cramer led Southwest, now 9-2, with 10 points.
PHOTO: Hardin-Central’s Megan Layman heads back up the court after grabbing one of her 7 rebounds during the Lady Bulldogs’ 44-43 win over Southwest. (Photo by Russ Green/The Daily News.)