BANGOR, Maine — The strange happenings during Friday night’s Class B North schoolgirl basketball between Central of Corinth and John Bapst of Bangor could have been blamed on a full moon, the fact it was Friday the 13th or both.
Central led 35-19 with just 11.4 seconds left in the third period but needed a pair of free throws from junior point guard Sydney Allen with 14.3 seconds remaining to secure a 45-42 victory at the Cross Insurance Center.
The resilient Crusaders, who are normally a 63 percent free throw shooting team, overcame a 13-for-32 performance from the foul line (40.6 percent) to tie it up on Crystal Bell’s free throws with 42 seconds left.
But Allen was fouled as Central played for the last shot and she converted both to snap the tie.
A John Bapst 3-pointer off an inbounds pass with three seconds left glanced off the rim and Libby Cook added an insurance free throw after grabbing the rebound as Central improved to 8-1 with its fourth straight win.
John Bapst fell to 7-5.
Allen said when she stepped to the foul line “all I was thinking was put these next two in.
“I blocked everything out,” she added.
Allen also did an exceptional job covering John Bapst scoring leader Bell, who was held to 13 points and didn’t make a 3-pointer.
“She’s a good defender. She’s very quick. It’s hard to beat her,” said Bell.
“I stayed up on her because I didn’t want to let her have a three. That’s her shot. When she drove, I stepped back off her so I wouldn’t pick up a foul,” explained Allen.
Allen finished with a team-high 12 points to go with two assists and two steals.
Freshman Emilee Cohen played a major role in helping Central build a 16-point lead as she came off the bench to score 11 points and grab eight rebounds.
“Sydney is one of our top scorers but when you work so hard on defense, sometimes you don’t have your legs on offense. It was nice to see Emilee step up. We don’t always look for her to score but I told her she needed to score for us tonight and freshmen love to please you,” Central coach Diane Rollins said with a grin.
“I felt really motivated. We needed this win,” said Cohen.
Cook contributed nine points and seven rebounds and Emma Campbell had six points and five rebounds for the winners. Emily Smith had four points and six rebounds.
Bell had 11 of her points in the second half and Grace Philippon had seven of her 11 over the final 16 minutes to rally the Crusaders.
Philippon also had eight rebounds and three steals to go with her 11 points before fouling out with 1:10 remaining.
Bell grabbed four rebounds and Madi Higgins had six rebounds to go with three points. Abbey Legasse had six points and Caleigh Lebel had six rebounds and four points.
“We were 13-for-32 from the foul line and 13-for-31 from two-point land. We only took eight three-pointers,” said John Bapst coach Mike Webb. “It doesn’t get any simpler than that when you do the math in a three-point game.”
“We’re usually a very steady free throw shooting team,” said Bell. “That shocked us a bit.”
Webb also said “we didn’t play basketball until the fourth quarter. You have to play four quarters.”
“We did a really good job defensively,” said Allen. “We really picked it up this game. And free throws at the end won it for us.”
Both teams played effective in-your-face defense and both were also guilty of poor shot selection at times.
Cohen’s seven first-half points helped the Red Devils build a 21-14 halftime lead.