By Ted Waddell
ROSCOE January 30, 2001 - If Fridays non-league girls varsity basketball game was a horse race, the wags would have said it was a down-to-the-wire finish.
The Lady Yellow Jackets of Eldred (111) beat the Roscoe Lady Blue Devils 52-51 despite a concerted last ditch effort by the home team (84) to pull off a come from behind victory.
This was Eldreds 11th straight win.
The tale of the tape was recorded at the free throw line. While the final percentages were close, the Lady Yellow Jackets got a whopping 32 trips to the foul line, completing 19 of their free tickets (59 percent) to score more points. The hosts stepped up to the foul line 19 times, and made 10 (53 percent).
In the final minutes, neither team relinquished its desire to win, as the score was repeatedly tied. It was almost like Groundhog Day, as fans kept popping out from the doorways to check the scoreboard and report the results back to the folks crowding the marble hallways.
With 14 seconds remaining on the game clock and the score 50-48 in favor of Eldred, Roscoes Kelly Ahart fouled Christine Lizzi, who stepped up to the free throw line and sank a couple to give the visitors what seemed like an unsurmountable 52-48 advantage.
In the closing seconds, Crystal Evans three-pointer made it a 52-51 game.
At the two-second mark, Ahart again fouled Lizzi. Both free throw attempts came close, but didnt pass muster at the edge of the rim.
As the micro-seconds ticked away, Roscoes Jessie Lake tried a desperation pass to Crystal Evans, but didnt make the connection as Evans never really had a chance to get the shot off.
Despite falling behind several points in the opening stanza, the Lady Yellow Jackets led 12-11 at the end of the first period. In the second chapter, the Lady Blue Devils outscored their opponents 11-8 to take a 22-20 halftime lead.
The visitors led 39-35 at the end of the third quarter.
Lizzi lead the games scoring with 25 points and Eldred center Stacie Blaut added 11.
Danielle Austin led Roscoe with 16, followed by Ahart (14) and Evans (10).
Becky Ahart, coach of Roscoes Lady Blue Devils summed up the narrow loss.
They put one more point on the board than we did, but Im very proud of my team, she said.
I think it was an excellently played game, she added. All the kids on both teams played their hearts out.
According to Eldred coach Frank Kean it was an exciting ballgame, won on a court on which his team always has trouble because they cant open up their game due to the small size of the playing floor.
Offensively, we didnt play that well, but defensively we played a hell of a game, said Kean.
They played us tough, but we showed our maturity, he added. We had that little bit extra.
Lizzi, Eldreds game-winning 17-year-old senior ace on the floor and at the free throw line, showed a lot of class in crediting the victory to a total team effort.
I think it was a team win, she said. We stuck together and came out on top.