By BURDELL HENSLEY
The Oskaloosa Herald
A 14-point lead going into the final quarter of a basketball game should by a comfortable lead.
Twin Cedars hosted Davis County Monday night in non-conference play and the Sabers did indeed have a 40-26 lead going into the final eight minutes.
But in that final quarter the Mustangs slapped on a panic press and they began to hit some shots that they had not hit early in the game. The game turned into a “White Knuckler.”
The Sabers hung on for dear life and finally escaped with a 47-46 victory.
A baseline bucket by Kenzie McCarty with 2:48 left in the game gave Twin Cedars a 45-35 lead, but the Mustangs would score the next nine points. An inside bucket by Rylee Eakins, a breakaway by Ally McClure, a three ball by Shelby Graves and another inside bucket by Eakins cut the deficit to 45-44 with 21 seconds remaining.
The Sabers needed to break the press and a long pass over the defense to Alee Hugen did the job. Hugen gathered the ball in and hit the layup for a 47-44 lead. Kate Birchmier scored for the Mustangs with one second left to set the final score at 47-46.
“What a nail-biter,” Twin Cedars coach Justin Nolte said. “Their pressure gave us a lot of trouble. We talked about playing up a class for better competition and having to find a way to win. We knew that they had two good post players and our goal was to control them and make their other people beat us. Our inside people did a fine job of defending. It is hard to simulate their pressure in practice and having to work against the pressure will help us down the road.”
The first quarter was slow and both teams had trouble getting shots to fall. Davis County held a narrow 8-6 lead after the first quarter. But in the second quarter, the Sabers used a 23-7 run to take a 29-15 lead into intermission. Hugen had 10 of her game high 27 points in the second period and McCarty added eight points in the run.
“Alee had a slow start,” Nolte said. “After a discussion during a time out she got the message to use the head and ball fakes to her advantage. She was on fire the final three quarter and really outclassed the two big girls from Davis County.”
The two teams matched points in the third period with Hugen scoring all 11 Saber points. The table was set for a wild fourth quarter and both teams left nothing on the floor.
In addition to Hugen’s 27 points and 12 rebounds, the Sabers got ning points from McCarty and seven from Brittney Roby. Davis County was led by Eakins with 16 points and Graves with 12 points.
The Sabers raise their record to 4-0 and will host Lamoni in a big Blue Grass Conference encounter Friday night.
Twin Cedars 47, Davis County 46
DC 8 7 11 20 — 46
TC 6 23 11 7 — 47
TWIN CEDARS (47) — Alee Hugen 13 1-2 27, Ayla Crosby 1 1-2 4, Brittney Roby 3 0-0 7, Kenzie McCarty 4 1-2 9. Totals 21 3-6 47.
3-point goals — 2 (Crosby, Roby). Rebounds — 32 (Hugen 12, Crosby 4, Roby 8, McCarty 7, Elizabeth Rowley 1). Steals — 11 (Hugen 4, Crosby 3, Payton Fee 1, Roby 2, McCarty 1). Assists — 14 (Hugen 1, Crosby 3, Fee 5, Roby 2, McCarty 1, Rowley 2). Total fouls — 8.