DELAWARE – Buckeye Valley girls basketball coach Mike Daniels didn’t pause when he was asked if he wanted the ball in senior Hannah Cowan’s hands on the last possession in a tie game Thursday night.
“Absolutely,” Daniels said. “I cleared it out and I just told her to go.”
Cowan drove the lane and was fouled with seven seconds left and knocked down the first free throw to send the Barons to a 40-39 win over River Valley in MOAC play.
“At the end of the game – I think everyone knew what they had to do and we just pulled it out,” Cowan said.
River Valley wasn’t able to get a clean look at the basket and a potential game-winning three-pointer fell well short as time expired.
Cowan had 23 points, seven rebounds and four steals, Reilly Taylor added seven points and four steals and Cowan had seven rebounds to lead the Barons (7-5, 5-3).
Taylor knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:19 left to extend the Barons’ lead to five – its first two-possession lead since RV opened the second half 8-0 to take its first lead of the game.
Ally Johnson knocked down a three-pointer from the left wing off a Taylor Hecker feed with 36 seconds left to cut it to two.
BV turned it over on the ensuing inbound pass. RV’s Devan Miller was fouled underneath with 32 seconds left and hit both free throws to tie it 39-39.
“I knew how much time we had left … so, I wasn’t that freaked out,” Cowan said. “I tend to stay calm and that makes the rest of the team calm. I knew we could get it down there.”
Cowan knocked down BV’s only three-pointer of the game off a Chelsea Edington feed to cap an 8-0 start.
Hecker and Konnor Nemeth each knocked down threes as the Vikings scored seven of the next nine to pull within one.
Cowan scored five points in a 9-2 Baron run to extend the lead to 19-11 in the second quarter. BV led 25-18 at the break.
RV opened the second half with baskets by Hecker, Johnson and Olivia Kyrk to pull within one.
Kyrk scored off a Madi Lott feed with 2:54 left in the third to give the Vikings their first lead of the game. The play was set up by a Johnson steal.
BV responded quickly with a Cami Crawford basket from Dani Grether, but Leticia Harbolt gave RV the lead back on the next possession.
Hecker pushed it to four with a three with 28 seconds left in the frame, but the Barons were able to whittle it to 32-30 on free throws.
“We’ve been trying to push aggressiveness,” Daniels said. “We had a little lull there in the second half – we weren’t moving the ball. We took a timeout to get them refocused and just keep attacking.”
Cowan scored all six points in a 6-0 spurt to start the fourth and Taylor added a free throw after a Johnson basket on the other end to set up the final sequence.
Johnson had 18 points, 12 rebounds and three assists; Hecker added eight points and four boards and Kyrk had eight rebounds and four steals to go with five points to lead the Vikings (7-6, 4-4).
BV returns to action Saturday night at Clear Fork in league play. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.