CONNERSVILLE — At some point, Mt. Vernon’s sectional win streak was going to end. It sure concluded in heart-breaking fashion Saturday night.
Trailing by one with 7.4 seconds left, the Marauders missed two free throws and a close bank shot as time ran out. For the first time in four years, there will be no regional trip for MV.
Anderson rode the clutch shooting of Kez’Aniqu Gosha and untimely Mt. Vernon mishaps to a 43-41 victory in the Class 4A Sectional 9 championship Saturday evening at the Connersville Spartan Bowl.
In winning their 15th sectional title, the Indians (18-5) earned a regional semifinal date Saturday morning against No. 1 Lawrence North (23-1) at Decatur Central.
“It was a good battle. I thought defensively, both teams played pretty well,” MV coach Julie Shelton said. (Gosha) hit tons of big 3s, and in this gym and with that kind of pressure, you don’t expect a kid to be able to continue to do that. Our game plan was to let her shoot early, and then we didn’t do a very good job of finding her once we changed our plan. She hit some big shots.
“We had some runs, did some good things and both teams battled. It was a great game.”
The two teams met earlier in the season, with Anderson handling Mt. Vernon 72-60 on Dec. 10. The Marauders were without senior post Erica Moore, an Indiana All-Star and Purdue recruit. Also missing was sophomore forward Sadie Baugh, leaving MV without an interior presence. The result was 30 free throws and 54 percent shooting from Anderson.
With Moore and Baugh back, Saturday’s clash was a defensive struggle that came down to a few key plays, and no sequence was bigger than when the Marauders trailed 42-41 with 15.6 seconds left in the game.
After a timeout, the Marauders put the ball in the hands of sophomore point guard Sydney Shelton. Shelton produced her best dribble-drive of the night, knifing through a pair of defenders before dishing to Moore, who was fouled.
With 7.4 seconds left, Moore went to the line for two free throws. The first attempt rimmed out. The second clanged off the back iron, with the Lady Tribe snaring the rebound.
MV fouled quickly, then had to foul again to get into the single bonus. With 5.6 seconds on the game clock, Anderson senior point guard Samia Carter stepped to the line for a 1-and-1.
Carter swished the first, then missed the second. Moore corralled the rebound and fired a quick outlet to Shelton up the left flank. Shelton veered across the court and flipped up a bank shot from the right of the paint as time expired. The attempt was too strong, colliding with the rim and ricocheting away from the net.