ROSSVILLE — The play call was a simple one for Clinton Prairie as it trailed Rossville by one point with 20 seconds left in the game: a pick-and-roll.
The screener — freshman Madison Douglass — would roll to the basket after setting a pick at the top of the key for senior Jasmine Hanna, who would then either pass to Douglass or take the pull-up jumper.
Hanna chose the latter and proved to make the right decision, canning a 17-foot jumper with 12 seconds left to give the Gophers a 44-43 lead. Rossville’s Michaela Miller missed a 3-pointer as time expired to give visiting CP the win and a perfect 4-0 record on the season.
“I was like, ‘Well, I have to make it or we lose,’” Hanna said. “I was really nervous about that. I was trying to be confident and just make sure it goes in.
“We’re doing so great right now and we have great potential for the end of the season.”
Prairie (4-0, 1-0 Hoosier Heartland Conference), which trailed for much of the game, appeared to seize control when an Abby Clark bucket gave the Gophers a 40-37 lead with three minutes left.
But Rossville (1-4, 0-1 HHC), which had already hit seven 3-pointers in the game up to that point, did not go away. Senior Hannah Alling hit a 3-pointer with 2:26 to go to tie the game at 40-40, and a minute later classmate Emily Virtue-Gamblin hit a triple with 1:27 to go to give Rossville a 43-40 lead.
Clark once again came through with a bucket to cut to lead to 43-42 with 55 seconds left. Rossville held possession of the ball for 30 seconds before sophomore Danielle Memmer was fouled with 24 seconds remaining in regulation. Memmer then missed the front end of a 1-and-1, setting up Hanna’s game winner.
Virtue-Gamblin and Alling bombed away from downtown all night, combining to hit nine 3-pointers in the contest. Virtue-Gamblin hit five triples and scored a career-high 17 points. Alling hit four 3-pointers to finish with 13 points and Miller was also in double figures with 10 points.
“We showed a lot of poise and we took a lot of steps forward as a basketball team,” said Rossville head coach Jeff Henley. “We have some kids that are starting to get confidence shooting the basketball. We hit big shot after big shot.”
The Gophers were led by Douglass, who scored 15 points. Hanna was right behind her with 14 points. Hanna also nailed a 3-pointer halfway through the fourth quarter to give the Gophers a 38-35 lead.
Hanna, CP’s leading scorer at 17.3 points per game heading into Tuesday’s game, only made three of her first 11 shots before hitting two baskets late in the fourth quarter.
“You could tell as the game went on Jasmine’s confidence grew,” said Prairie head coach Jason Haid. “She’s got the green light. She’s shooting great this year. If she’s got an opening, she’s going to take it. I’ve got confidence in her to knock it down.”
Douglass scored nine of her points in the second half, establishing herself on the low post against the smaller Hornets frontcourt.
“We weren’t looking for her nearly enough in the first half,” Haid said. “Once we started looking at that high post and short corner and getting some dump-downs, she got going.”
Stephanie Schrock led CP with five rebounds and four assists. Memmer had five assists for Rossville.
Prairie came out in a zone defense to start the game, which surprised Henley. But it was of no matter because Alling and Virtue-Gamblin combined to hit four 3-pointers in the opening stanza, giving Rossville a 12-6 lead eight minutes into the game.
“I thought Coach (Haid) would play man. It just goes to show that you don’t even need a coach,” Henley joked. “We didn’t practice against a zone at all preparing for this game.”
For Prairie, Clark scored six points, Paige Schoonveld four points, Ivve Weflen three points and Kelsey Dunham two points. Brittyn Oliver chipped in three points for Rossville.
“We never threw the towel in,” Haid said. “They made runs at us and we answered. That says a lot about this team. This team has won a lot of close games early in the season. It shows that we’ve grown from a year ago.”
Rossville senior Michaela Miller dribbles quickly down the sideline as she’s chased by Clinton Prairie’s Abby Clark.
Clinton Prairie freshman Madison Douglass charges toward the basket as Rossville’s Megan Longenecker tries to stop her. Douglass scored a team-high 15 points in the Gophers’ 44-43 win.