Lady Owls move into tourney finals
WELLINGTON -- Karson Heying wanted the ball for the last shot, and she got it.
The 5-foot-11 junior forward beat the overtime buzzer with a low-post banker Wednesday to send the Marshall girls' basketball team into the Wellington-Napoleon Tournament finals with a 57-55 decision over Concordia.
The Lady Owls led most of the contest, by as many as 14 points during the second half, but a 21-7 run during the fourth quarter allowed the Lady Orioles to close the gap and extend the game with a last-second three-pointer from senior Katlin Murray.
Marshall went ahead with a 17-2 spree midway through the first half, begun by sophomore Molly Evans' bomb and closing with Heying scoring 10 straight points. Senior Stephanie Markes fed Heying in the block for a conventional three-point play to begin the second period and Heying finished a fast break off an Evans pass to give the Lady Owls a 19-5 cushion.
Concordia still trailed by 14 at halftime, but then surged coming out of the break. Senior Staci Schlueter's bomb and a free throw by senior Hailee Langkrahr cut the margin to eight points with 2:36 left in the third quarter.
Junior Payton Beeler and Heying scored in transition to end the frame with Marshall up, 43-30. However, late in the period the Lady Owls took a blow when Evans hurt her neck crashing to the floor and was out the rest of the game.
Without its starting point guard, Marshall committed 11 turnovers during the fourth quarter, only partly alleviated by steals on three defensive stands in a row by senior Jashawna Terry. The Lady Orioles took advantage of the miscues, and knocked down six long jumpers down the stretch -- two by Murray, including the one which produced the game's first tie score as regulation ended.
Neither team was able to gain traction during the extra period, Concordia limited to a Langkrahr stick-back and the Lady Owls getting two Heying free throws. Murray came up with a steal and missed a short jumper, with Markes pulling down the rebound and Marshall calling timeout in the forecourt with two seconds remaining.
Heying called for the ball down low and got it, made an up-and-under move leaning toward to iron and then exploded with joy as the ball caromed off the glass and through the twine as the horn sounded.
Murray wound up with 20 points and Langkrahr had 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Lady Orioles (9-8).
Heying had a career night with 28 points, 11 boards and eight blocked shots -- half of the Lady Owls' school-record 16 rejections, tied for ninth on the state's all-time list for a single game.
Marshall (9-4) had to settle for third place in the tourney a year ago after losing its opener to Wellington by five points. The second-seeded Lady Owls will find out if they get another crack at the favored host team, or take on No. 5 Orrick -- who they beat 40-30 in the trophy round -- for the championship Saturday after tonight's semifinal.