By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The Stanberry girls' basketball team (9-2) overcame a nine-point deficit twice to force overtime and eventually top St. Joseph Christian, 55-52, on Friday night at St. Joseph Christian High School.
The Bulldogs, ranked No. 7 in Class 1, were down 9-0 to start the game and didn't score their first basket until 3:26 to go in the first quarter.
Stanberry then started the second quarter on a 9-2 run and hit a pair of threes to take a 24-18 lead at the break.
The Bulldogs came out of the locker room still on a roll, going up 31-22 midway through the third before St. Joseph Christian reeled off an 18-0 scoring run, which carried over into the 4th quarter and allowed the Lions (9-3) to go ahead, 40-31.
Still down 42-35 midway through the fourth, Stanberry reeled off an 8-0 run of their own to go up 43-42 with 45.9 seconds left in regulation.
Christian did not give up. With starters Lexi McDaniel and Chloe Burnham fouled out, sophomore Danika Wattenbarger stepped up and got a layup, got fouled and made the ensuing free throw to put the Lions ahead, 47-45, with 6.1 seconds remaining.
With just 4.5 left in regulation, Stanberry's Tarynn Mattson was fouled. With the Bulldogs already in the double bonus, Mattson stepped to the charity stripe and made both of her shots to knot the game at 47 and send it to overtime.
The Bulldogs started the extra period on a 4-0 run, and never trailed again, winning their fifth straight game. Stanberry did a masterful job of getting to the foul line Friday, making 25-of-34 free throws in the game.
Christian did a decent job forcing fouls also, making 15-of-19 free throw attempts themselves.
Senior and Mizzou track and field commit Lexi Craig led Stanberry in victory with 16 points, making 11-of-14 free throws herself, including a perfect 6-for-6 in the fourth quarter and overtime combined.
"I kept telling the girls on the court that this is fun," Craig said. "I love those kind of games. Way better than what we'd been having in the season. It was pretty slow to start out with, but we finally found our groove in the second quarter."
Junior Kiley Mattson scored 12 for Stanberry - four of that coming in overtime. Sophomore Amelia Wallace fouled out in overtime, but scored 11 points.
"I kept telling my teammates to keep our mindset correct and keep our emotion down," Craig said. "Don't show the refs what you like or don't like, because you're not going to get that call. Just trying to keep our head in the game the entire time."
Sophomore Chloe Burnham led her team with 15 points, scoring 11 in the third quarter alone. Junior Ella Bowman and sophomore Maya Freudenthal each scored 11.
Stanberry boys get off to quick start, trounce St. Joseph Christian
Senior Austin Schwebach scored 14 points in the first quarter, sparking the Bulldogs to a 28-8 start and leading Stanberry to a 66-31 win at St. Joseph Christian Friday.
Schwebach led the No. 5 Bulldogs (10-1) with a game-high 20 points.
"We came out with the intensity we needed to get a big lead," Schwebach said. "Then, we never backed down. Always taking good shots and moving the ball and playing hard on defense as well."
Leading 37-15 at halftime, Stanberry kept its foot on the gas, scoring 17 fourth quarter points and getting a few slam dunks in for good measure.
Stanberry has now won 10 straight since dropping its season-opener to top-ranked and unbeaten Mound City.
"We just want to keep it rolling through the rest of the season," Schwebach said. "Hopefully, keep it rolling on into districts and then hopefully further."
Senior Landon Marticke made four threes in the game and contributed 16 points to Stanberry's win. Sophomore Colby McQuinn had 11.
Christian, which had a six-game winning streak snapped Friday, were without senior starter Camden Lutz in the game. Fellow senior Carson Bowman carried the load for the Lions (9-3), scoring 16 points. Senior Caleb Carlson had five.
Both the Stanberry and St. Joseph Christian boys' and girls' teams go into tournament play next week. The Bulldogs host the annual Stanberry tournament in their home gym.
The Stanberry girls, seeded No. 2, faces No. 7 seed Worth County on Monday at 4:30. The No. 2 seed Stanberry boys open against No. 7 seed King City on Tuesday at 9 p.m.
St. Joseph Christian will take part in the Fairfax tournament. The Christian girls are the top seed and will face No. 5 seed South Holt in pool play on Monday at 4:30.
The Christian boys are also the top seed at Fairfax, and will face No. 5 seed South Holt Monday at 5:45.
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.