The spacious margins around the basketball court provided by the Fred. E Davis Multipurpose Center was supposed to benefit the top-seeded Lady Cardinals. La Monte, however, kept the Tipton offense within the confines of half-court sets for the bulk of Tuesday’s Kaysinger conference semifinal matchup, and edged the reigning conference champions in overtime, 55-54.
After trailing by a short margin for most of the second half, Katie Patrick got the ball beyond the arc and fired with 28 seconds to play.
Her 3-pointer landed, and Maya Martin made 1 of 2 free throws after getting fouled on the shot. The 51-49 lead was La Monte’s first since halftime.
The loss breaks a three-year conference win streak for the Tipton Cardinals.
La Monte head coach Donnie Mayes said the team worked on defensive rotations to prepare for Tipton.
“We mainly focused on help defense and being in the right spots,” Mayes said. “(We) worked on getting back on defense and being in the right help positions because they’re a good team. And when Destiny (Dowell) gets the ball in her hands, she’s hard to stop. We knew if we were going to help, we had to help early to close off her dribble penetration. And we got some shots to fall.”
La Monte entered halftime with a 25-23 lead.
Tipton opened the second half in a full-court press and immediately deposited two field goals for a 27-25 lead. La Monte finally broke the press and a scoring drought three minutes into the second half.
Sandra Arroyo nearly tied the score twice for La Monte on lay-ins that fell short. She got the job done with 1:51 to play in the third with two free throws. Arroyo was 9 of 9 from the charity stripe and led La Monte with 17 points.
Erin Warner scored 14 for La Monte and Vada DeMotte scored nine points in the first half.
Alyson Brandt received the inbounds pass and found Maddie Eldringhoff for a buzzer-beating three at the end of the third. Tipton led 37-33 going into the fourth quarter.
A pair of Arroyo free throws tied the game at 40 with five minutes to play.
Brookylnn Pace hit a 10-foot jumper and Dowell scored on a steal and layup to take the lead again, 44-40.
With a minute left, Arroyo stumbled bringing the ball up the court, but maintained possession. Madison Harris missed a corner three, and Tipton called timeout after recovering the long rebound.
Arroyo fouled out with under a minute to play. Pace hit 1 of 2 free throws to give Tipton a 49-47 lead.
Down two points with 30 seconds left, Katie Patrick got the ball beyond the arc and fired. Her 3-pointer landed, and Maya Martin took free throws after getting fouled on the shot.
After desperately forcing two La Monte turnovers, Tipton missed two attempts as regulation ended.
The Lady Vikings outscored Tipton 4-3 in overtime. Dowell scored one field goal and one free throw for the Lady Cardinals in overtime. Her final shot of the game was a corner three that bounced off the rim.
Dowell finished with 11 points and was 3-for-11 from the free-throw line. Brooklynn Pace also scored 11 points, and Alyson Brandt added nine.
Annie Martin scored the first points for Tipton.
Katie Patrick got La Monte on the board with an elbow jumper.
The Lady Vikings went on a 7-0 run in the first quarter after an Erin Warner drew a foul on a putback layup.
Dowell cut the La Monte lead to three after going 1-2 at the free-throw line and scoring off of a steal on the next possession.
La Monte faces Stover in the championship Friday at 9 p.m.
TUESDAY’S TOURNEY RESULTS
Otterville 38, Windsor 13
Stover 51, Cole Camp 33
LATE GAME — Sacred Heart vs. Lincoln
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2