ELROY — Royall’s Emily Olson did not have her best shooting night against the New Lisbon Rockets. But in the most pivotal moment of the game, she delivered.
Olson buried a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in the game and the Panthers (1-0 Scenic Bluffs, 1-1 overall) topped New Lisbon (0-1, 0-2) 57-54 in both teams’ conference opener Monday, Nov. 27 at Royall High School.
“I knew that I needed to step up and my shots weren’t falling earlier,” Olson. “I knew we had six seconds left, so I just took the shot.”
In the first half, it was all Royall. The Panthers led right out the gates and never trailed over the game’s first 18 minutes, leading by as much as 13 at one point and taking a 31-21 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
However, the Rockets refused to go away quietly in the second half.
New Lisbon used a 22-6 run to power its way back and take a 43-37 lead. Royall responded with an 8-2 run of its own to tie the game at 45, after which the two teams traded baskets and leads down the closing stretch.
Sophomore guard Mya Delgado hit a three to give the Rockets a 51-50 lead with less than four minutes to play, but senior forward McKenzie Baeseman responded with a basket of her own on the ensuing Royall possession to make it 52-51 Panthers.
New Lisbon would later face a 54-51 deficit coming out of a timeout with 36.6 seconds remaining in the game. But Delgado would come up big again, drilling another 3-pointer with 16.3 seconds left to tie it.
Royall head coach Andrew Dahlen would take a timeout of his own to draw up a play for his team’s final possession of regulation. Baeseman drove the base line into the paint, but was met by New Lisbon’s Callie Bever to cut off her path to the basket. Instead, Baeseman dished the ball to a wide open Olson in the left corner, who then sunk the go-ahead three.
Freshman guard Emma Gruen intercepted a desperation heave on the ensuing New Lisbon inbound pass, clinching the Panthers’ dramatic win.
Baeseman led Royall with 16 points, while Olson and freshman guard Paige Britzman each had nine. Delgado led all scorers with 19 points and Bever recorded a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds (along with five steals) for the Rockets.
In total, there were six lead changes and three ties in the second half.
“I think it was a pretty good battle of two even teams,” Dahlen said. “We got up early and they did a really good job battling back. It was an intense game and like I told their coach (Dan Sagert), it’s unfortunate one of us had to lose, but we both got better from it. When you play someone even like that, it makes both teams better.”
Though Royall let an early lead slip away, Dahlen was pleased with his relatively young team’s ability to not panic and rally back for the win.
“I learned that it’s going to be interesting having a young team,” he said. “But I know one thing: that they’re never going to give up. I really appreciate that and I’m looking forward to that as we keep going this year.”
Wonewoc-Center Wolves 32, Weston Silver Eagles 30
Wonewoc-Center’s losing streak is over. The Wolves (1-2) edged past the Weston Silver Eagles (0-2) Monday, Nov. 27 to snap their 38-game losing streak. It’s their first win since a 38-35 victory over the La Farge Wildcats on Jan. 11, 2016. Freshman guard Lindsay Peters scored 10 points and sophomore center Alexis Peesel added seven points and seven rebounds for Wonewoc-Center. Junior guard Kadee Lawrence scored 10 points to lead Weston. The Wolves will host Hillsboro Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. to kick off conference play.
Necedah Cardinals 57, La Farge Wildcats 30
Necedah (2-0) followed up its 28-point, season-opening victory over Weston with a convincing, 27-point win against La Farge (0-2) Tuesday, Nov. 21. Sophomore forward/guard Miah Hansen recorded 16 points, five rebounds, five steals and three assists for the Cardinals. Necedah senior guard Lindsay Murphy added 14 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists. As a team, the Cardinals had 16 steals in the game.