Lady Leopards Fall in Overtime at West Branch – Girls Basketball
West Branch 54, Louisville 49, OT
The Louisville Leopards Girls Varsity Basketball Team fell in a heartbreaking overtime thriller against the host West Branch Warriors at West Branch High School Wednesday Night. With the loss, Louisville falls to 10-4 overall and drops to 8-1 in the NBC.
Abby Beaver led the Lady Leopards with a team-high 11 points, a game-high 6 assists, and 2 steals. Danielle Walter also made 3 three-pointers to finish with 9 and Alexa Oberster added 8 for Louisville.
It was a tale of two halves during regulation. The Lady Leopards set the tone early on. They took a 15-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and extended their lead to 23-14 by halftime. However, the Lady Warriors answered back starting the second half on a 12-2 run to take the lead at 26-25 midway through the third quarter.
Louisville responded by shutting out West Branch for the next 4:55 during a 6-0 run. Beaver and Oberster each scored buckets and Erin Hahn hit a pair of free throws during the run. The Leopards continued to build upon their lead in the fourth quarter. Beaver made two big baskets and Walter banged home a three-pointer as Louisville pulled ahead 40-33 with 4:13 left in regulation.
The Leopards would be shutout from the field for the rest of the period. The Warriors stunningly used an 8-1 run to knot the game at 41-41 with 1:15 left in the contest. On the game-tying possession, Brenna Rito found Natalie Zuchowski for the lay-in.
On the other end, Louisville ran the clock all the way down for the last shot. The West Branch defense clamped down forcing an NBA range three-point attempt in the final seconds. The shot clanked off the back of the iron and the game went into overtime.
The Warriors won the opening tip and Kayla Hovorka began the scoring with a left handed layup. The West Branch defense held on the other end and they continued add to their lead from the line. They shot 11 of 18 from the charity stride during the overtime period led by Rito who hit home 4 of her 5 attempts.
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The Leopards chipped away to make the game interesting down the stretch. After a missed free throw, Oberster grabbed an offensive board and put it back up and in to cut the deficit to 47-44 with 2:39 left. Later on, Walter stepped back well beyond the arch and canned a three-pointer to cut the Warriors lead to 50-47 with 42 seconds to go. That was as close as Louisville would get as West Branch finalized their comeback from the line.
Zuchowski led the Lady Warriors by scoring 6 of her game-high 14 points in the fourth quarter. She also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds. Rito also scored 13 points & had 2 steals and Hovorka tallied 12 points to go along with a team-high 4 assists. West Branch improves to 12-2 overall and is now tied with Louisville for the NBC lead at 8-1.
The loss snaps the Lady Leopards 3-game winning streak against the Lady Warriors. Louisville now trails the all-time series 22-37, which includes a 7-22 record at West Branch. The Leopards have not won back-to-back games at WBHS since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. This is the first known overtime game between the two programs.
UP NEXT: The Lady Leopards will next host the Alliance Aviators on Saturday, January 21. JV will begin at Noon and Varsity will follow around 1:30 PM.