By Rob Potter
ELDRED January 11, 2005 During and after his stellar baseball career, New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra became known for his unique observations about the National Pastime.
One of the most famous was Berras line that a baseball game aint over til its over.
The same can be said of high school basketball games.
Livingston Manor rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final minute of play to post a 43-41 victory over host Eldred on Friday night in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division VI girls basketball game.
Manor sophomore guard Rose Curtis scored the winning basket with just four seconds remaining in the contest. With the score knotted at 41-41, Curtis swished a 16-foot jump shot from near the top of the key to give the Lady Wildcats a two-point victory.
Eldred (3-2, 1-1 Division VI) had one last possession, but was unable to attempt a potential game-tying shot or a game-winning 3-pointer.
With 51 seconds left in the contest, Eldreds Candice Martin made one of two foul shots to give the Lady Yellowjackets a seemingly comfortable 41-32 lead.
But Manor (7-4, 2-2 Division VI) responded with a spirited rally.
Sophomore guard Jackie Trotti made a short jump shot with 36 seconds left to pull Manor to within seven points, 41-34. Following an Eldred turnover seconds later, Manors Carrie Lewis scored inside the lane to make it a five-point game.
After a timeout, the Lady Yellowjackets turned the ball over on a traveling violation.
On the ensuing Lady Wildcats possession, Lewis was fouled with 23 seconds left on the scoreboard clock. The senior forward calmly stepped up to the line and made both free throws, which narrowed Eldreds lead to 41-38.
After another Eldred turnover, Manor took a timeout with 15 seconds remaining. On the inbounds play immediately following the timeout, Trotti passed the ball to Lewis, who was standing just beyond the 3-point arc. Lewis quickly caught the basketball and then squared her shoulders and took a shot. A second later, the ball fell through the net to knot the score at 41-41.
Ten seconds later, Curtis hit her game-winning shot.
These girls just refused to lose, Manor Coach Kevin Clifford said.
Clifford noted that the Lady Wildcats determination and hustle were keys to the victory. Of course, the clutch shots by Lewis and Curtis were also vital in the games outcome.
That play was just something I drew up during the timeout, we had never practiced it before, Clifford said of Lewis game-tying 3-point shot.
Lewis scored a game-high 28 points in leading Manor to the win. Curtis finished the evening with six points.
Carrie Lewis played her best all-around game since Ive been coaching here, Clifford said. Ashley Mann did a great job, shes our leader out there on the court and Katie Portz had a great game defensively. She also grabbed a lot of rebounds.
Clifford also praised the work of Assistant Coach Dave Irwin.
Hes as big a part of this win as anybody, Clifford said of Irwin, who also coaches the Lady Wildcats JV team. He kept track of the clock, timeouts and fouls.
Clifford noted that Eldred is a very good basketball team.
[Eldreds] Jessica Cherry is a heck of a basketball player, he said. She plays with hustle, heart and class.
Cherry, a senior forward for the Lady Yellowjackets, scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Steph Berger added eight points and Jen Gutman had six points for Eldred.
We should have slowed it down and used the [shot] clock up when we had the ball, but we kept going to the basket and trying to fast break, Eldred Coach Frank Kean said.
The veteran coach was quick to praise Manor for the way it played in the games final moments.
Give Manor credit, they stayed aggressive and kept hustling until the end of the game, Kean said.
In addition to the clutch shots made by Lewis and Curtis in the final minute of the contest, foul shooting was a key factor in the game. Manor went 10-for-20 at the free throw line, while Eldred was just 5-of-20 from the line.