Tara Price didn’t have much time to ponder the game-winning shot, which proved to be a good thing.
The Madison High School junior guard didn’t exactly have a hot hand Saturday afternoon, but she was true when it counted, hitting a jumper with 8.8 seconds left in the second overtime to lift the Mohawks girls basketball team past visiting Carlisle 64-63.
Kenzi Saunders misfired on a drive to the basket and Lily Campbell got the ball to Price near the 3-point line on the rebound. Price took a few steps in and put it up.
“It was crazy,” said Price, who didn’t play basketball last year. “Lily Campbell played great defense, went up for the rebound and tipped it to me, and I was wide open for the shot. I was a little nervous. I wasn’t hitting. I was looking to pass it out, but I was wide open and I knew there wasn’t much time left on the clock, so I figured I’d take it.”
And her feeling as the ball swished through the net?
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“It felt perfect,” she said.
Carlisle responded with an overthrown pass for its 30th turnover of the game as Madison improved to 2-1 overall and in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division. The Indians are 5-2, 1-2.
“It was two teams that probably shouldn’t walk home losers, but somebody has to win and somebody has to lose,” Carlisle coach Randy Glover said. “I’m really proud of the effort we’ve been giving. We’re learning how to do things.
“Compliments to Madison. It’s fun playing them, and it was another great game. I wish we could’ve come out of here with a win, but hopefully we’ll see some of the fruits from all that energy we’re giving.”
Abby Erisman, a junior transfer from Dayton Christian, tallied a career-high 22 points and six rebounds for the Indians. Cami Glover collected 15 points and 22 boards, and Christa Harris added 12 points.
Saunders (21), Ally King (14) and Lillie Runnells (12) topped the scoring for Madison. King’s career-best day included 17 rebounds.
“It’s just one of those fights Randy and I have every year,” Mohawks coach Brian McGuire said. “I love Randy … he’s my brother. His kids played so hard. I’m going to have to recruit a post player before we play them again.”
Madison is a guard-oriented squad that likes to shoot 3s and converted nine of them Saturday. The Mohawks also missed 24 times from beyond the arc (27.3 percent), and Glover and Erisman had lots of success down low.
Erisman scored seven straight points in the first OT after Harris — Carlisle’s floor general— fouled out, but the Indians couldn’t hold a 59-56 lead.
Carlisle went up 63-62 on Maleah Cotton’s jumper with 2:44 remaining in the second OT. The Indians missed the front end of the one-and-one with 25.3 seconds left, and after a Madison timeout with 20.4 on the clock, Price became the hero.
“I was a little upset that we kept shooting 3s when we had the lead today, but that’s who we are right now,” McGuire said. “Normally we shoot better than we did today.
“We’re just all guards. We’ve got to figure out how to defend in the post. When Ally was out of the game, they completely dominated us in the post. We don’t have a post presence, but I thought Ally did as well as she could. She battled both of those girls.”
Price and Campbell both scored eight points for the Mohawks, and Campbell had nine rebounds and six steals. Madison led by as many as nine points in the third quarter.
“We’re still young, we’re still learning,” McGuire said. “I think we’ve got the best all-around player in the league in Kenzi Saunders. But I think we’re going to be a better basketball team at the end of the year. Everybody says that, but I honestly believe it.”
The Indians got six points and seven boards from Savannah Parrish. Carlisle was hurt by its turnovers and free-throw shooting (9 of 19), but showed resilience, especially after Harris fouled out.
“We talk about how we’re not going to be perfect players, but we have to give the right effort on the floor,” Randy Glover said. “If you give effort, you’re going to mask some of the mistakes that you’re going to make in a game.
“I kept telling the girls that a little thing was going to win or lose this game. It ended up being a rebound that we did not get today. It ended up in the hands of a Madison player that put it in, and they’re singing the victory tune and we’re scratching our heads going, ‘Why weren’t we the victors today?’ ”
The Mohawks will be at Goshen on Monday. The Indians will travel to Milton-Union on Thursday.
CARLISLE (5-2, 1-2 SWBL Buckeye): Savannah Parrish 3 0 6, Caitlyn Stewart 2 0 4, Christa Harris 4 4 12, Maleah Cotton 2 0 4, Cami Glover 7 1 15, Abby Erisman 9 4 22. Totals: 27-9-63
MADISON (2-1, 2-1 SWBL Buckeye): Lillie Runnells 5 0 12, Ally King 6 2 14, Jackie Kovscek 0 1 1, Lily Campbell 3 0 8, Kenzi Saunders 7 4 21; Tara Price 3 0 8. Totals: 24-7-64
3-pointers: M 9 (Saunders 3, Campbell 2, Price 2, Runnells 2)