Berryville guard Alex McCallister only made two shots all game, but they couldn't have come at a bigger moment on Thursday as the Lady Bobcats stunned Heber Springs 66-59 in double overtime of the 4A state tournament at the Gina Cox Center.
Berryville guard Alex McCallister only made two shots all game, but they couldn’t have come at a bigger moment on Thursday as the Lady Bobcats stunned Heber Springs 66-59 in double overtime of the 4A state tournament at the Gina Cox Center.
McCallister drilled a three-pointer at the end of regulation, forcing overtime and she hit another long shot from 6-feet beyond the three-point line as the horn sound at the conclusion of the first extra period, sending the first round state tournament game into a second overtime.
The Lady Bobcats, who led 9-7 early but trailed the rest of regulation, didn’t attempt a field goal in the second overtime, sinking 10 of 14 free throws to seal the victory.
“It’s hard,” said Heber coach Jamey Riddle. “You would almost rather get beat 30 than get beat in double overtime. It’s tough but as a coach this is where you want your team every year and hopefully the ball will bounce your way during the game. For the most part it did.”
Heber led 21-11 after the first quarter, 31-18 at half and 38-32 through three quarters of play. The Lady Panthers led 49-46 with 18.7 seconds remaining after point guard Skylar Johnson canned a pair of free throws, but McCallister’s shot from right wing off an assist from point guard Britni Smith tied the game with six seconds remaining.
Following a timeout, Skylar Johnson’s pull up jumper inside the foul line was blocked from behind, leaving the score knotted at 49 entering the first overtime.
Heber took a 54-51 lead with less than a minute to play in the first overtime when Skylar Johnson banked home a tough runner in heavy traffic. After Berryville forward Sara Johnson and Heber forward Makenzie Martin each made two from the charity stripe, McCallister struck again from the right wing ¬ this time from 26-feet out.
“We lost who we were needing to key in on,” said Riddle. “During the game I thought we did that but down the stretch it was exciting and intense and sometimes you lose track of where people are. I should have switched some things around a little bit.”
Heber finished 21 of 64 from the field, including 6 of 14 from beyond the arc. The Lady Panthers made 11 of 14 free throws. Berryville made 20 of 41 shots from the field, 7 of 15 from three-point range and 22 of 32 free throws.
Down 3-0, the Lady Panthers took their first lead as Martin scored inside off a high-low play and forward Mary Simmons buried a jumper from the foul line off an assist from Skylar Johnson.
Berryville guards Aleksei Smith and Alison Smith each scored in transition as Berryville jumped back on top before Heber guard Hannah Johnson nailed a three-pointer from left corner.
The Lady Bobcats took their final lead of regulation on a bucket by Sara Johnson, who pulled down a rebound and scored before Heber stormed in front behind Skylar Johnson, who poured in 10 straight points, starting with a three-pointer in transition.
Skylar Johnson picked a steal and scored then she drilled another three-pointer, causing Berryville to call for timeout, suddenly trailing 17-11 with 1:28 remaining in the first quarter.
Skylar Johnson added a jumper from right elbow off an assist from guard McKenzie Cresswell then guard Abigail Herring came up with a steal that led to a pair of free throws by Simmons as the Lady Panthers closed the first quarter with a 12-0 run.
Cresswell buried a 19-foot jumper up top and Martin turned an offensive rebound into two free throws, extending Heber’s run to 16-0 early in the second.
Berryville bounced back with a 5-0 spurt before Herring hit a short jumper from left baseline off an assist from Simmons, then forward Mary Lawrence made a tough fall away shot from right block.
Simmons added a jumper from left baseline off an assist from Herring, but Britni Smith sank two free throws with five seconds to play in the first half, trimming Heber’s lead to 31-18 heading to the locker room.
Berryville doubled up Heber in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Panthers 14-7 while whittling its deficit to six by closing the period with a 6-0 surge. The Lady Bobcats’ run included a three-pointer from left corner by guard Alison Smith, who made two more from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter to help set up McCallister’s shot.
Heber pushed its lead to 40-32 early in the fourth quarter when Martin hustled to save a loose ball, which guard Madeline Spanel tracked down and dished to Skylar Johnson, who scored in transition.
But Berryville responded with back to back three-pointers by Britni Sith and Alison Smith, whose shot from left corner off an inbound play left Heber clinging to a 40-38 lead with 5:30 remaining.
Lawrence responded with a bucket in the paint off an assist from Skylar Johnson, but Berryville forward Ally Teague answered with two free throws. Heber cushioned its lead as Hannah Johnson drilled a three-pointer off an assist from Skylar, then Hannah slashed right side and dropped a bank shot.
But the Lady Bobcats refused to go away as Teague ripped a three-pointer from right wing and Alison Smith popped a three-pointer from left corner, which set up McCallister’s first game-tying shot.
“We might have got a little tired down the stretch but to be here and almost have your moment to play [defending state champion] Malvern again, which beat us last year,” said Riddle. “This is what you preach about. This is why you work hard all summer just to be in this spot right here so you can’t ask for much more from them. I am proud of them.”
Alison Smith led Berryville with 19 points, Aleksei Smith followed with 12, Britni Smith scored 11, Ally Teague added nine, Johnson chipped in eight and McCallister had seven.
The Lady Bobcats finished their season with a record of 21-12 after falling to Malvern 54-34 in Friday’s quarterfinal round.
Skylar Johnson scored a game-high 24 points for three-time defending 2-4A champion Heber, which wrapped up its season with a record of 23-8. Martin added 11 points while Simmons and Hannah Johnson, who was plagued with foul trouble, each chipped in eight.