Jay County High School junior Alex Loy dives for a loose ball late in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ 28-27 victory Tuesday over the Huntington North Vikings. JCHS forced several turnovers down the stretch as it outscored Huntington North 13-2 in the final 2:11 of the game for the comeback victory.
Ray Cooney Assistant Managing Editor/Sports Editor
Katlin Petro and Katie Aker grabbed offensive rebounds.
Alex Loy and Amber Huelskamp swarmed defensively and came up with steals.
Abby Wendel deflected an inbound pass to force a turnover.
A team that has struggled in the fourth quarter for most of the season, Jay County made big play after big play after big play as time faded away Tuesday.
Katlin Petro, returning after missing six games because of thyroid surgery, made the last big play when she grabbed an offensive rebound and powered up the game-winning shot with just 3.3 seconds remaining. Her hoopcompleted an improbable rally as the Patriots scored 13 points in the final 2:11 of the game to knock off the visiting Huntington North Vikings 28-27.
“It’s awesome,” said Petro, noting that her team’s confidence ebbed and flowed during the game. “We know that we can do it. Once westart turning the ball over … we get discouraged. …
“We picked up the intensity (in the fourth quarter). … We actually knew that we had a chance of winning. So that made a difference.”
Jay County (5-9) had just nine points through three quarters of play, and trailed 25-15 after Caitlyn Shrock scored for the Vikings (3-11) with 2:30 remaining. But Petro responded with a hoop at the 2:11 mark to start the Patriots’ comeback.
A series of offensive rebounds by Aker and Petro led to a pair of free-throws by the latter to close the gap to six. In the final minute Huelskamp turned a broken play into a basket and then teamed with Loy to trap Huntington North’s Kelsey Hollowell, forcing a turnover.
Loy converted two free throws with 21.5 seconds on the clock to pull Jay County to within one, and then Wendel deflected the ensuing inbound pass off of Lindsey Foster and out of bounds to get the ball back for the Patriots again.
Bre McIntire drove for the potential game-winning shot, but her floater in the lane bounced off the right side of the rim. Petro was there to retrieve it, grabbing her fifth rebound of the game and powering the ballback up for the game winning points.
“I just got the rebound and I didn’t really shoot it,” said Petro. “I knew they were fouling me … and I just kind of went up with it. … I just knew I had to do it.”
The foul — Madi Canady was hanging on Petro’s left arm — was not called, but it didn’t matter.
After two time outs Huntington was able to work the ball up the court, but Foster failed to get a shot off before time expired as Jay County took the victory.
Petro scored all of her game-high 10 points in the fourth quarter. That effort included a perfect 6-for-6 mark from the foul line.
“It was a huge game for her coming back,” said Krieg. “It’s great for her that she got to have that opportunity late in the game.
“We needed the ball to be in her hands late in the game. She can knock the free throws home, and she can finish around the basket.”
Loy scored five points and matched Petro with five rebounds, and Aker also tallied five points.
The Patriots won despite shooting 20 percent in the first half and committing seven turnovers in the opening quarter. After struggling late in games for much of the year, JCHS scored on seven of its final eight possessions.
And the comeback came without leading scorer Catherine Dunn, who missed the game because of a knee injury.
“Obviously when you start losing, you’re going to lose some confidence,” said Krieg. “They just didn’t believe that they could win a close game. Today proved that we could win a close game.
“I’m proud of the girls’ effort in that fourth quarter, just digging down deep.”
Huntington North was also without its leading scorer for most of the game, as Allyson Trout suffered an injury early in the first quarter. Hannah Stoffel paced the Vikings with eight points and six rebounds.
The Patriots went without a field goal as they fell 40-3 to Huntington North.
Jay County trailed by 17 at halftime after going scoreless in the second quarter. It scored one point apiece in each of the other three periods.
Emily Williams, Kai-Li Baughman and Cheyenne Loy each hit one free throw for the Patriots.
Madi Canady and Corinne Tester scored eight points apiece to lead the Vikings. Marissa Jamison added six points.