Second Region Tournament
Crittenden 57, Christian 54 OT
Christian 15 24 34 45 54
Crittenden 11 22 36 45 57
Christian - McKnight 20, Bruster 10, Barkley 9, Williams 9, Davis 3, Gold 1, Legett 2, Mosley. FG. 17. 3-pointers 2 (Davis, Bruster). FT. 14-22. Fouls 11.
Crittenden - Hodge 21, Brown 10, Brantley 9, Johnson 9, Tabor 6, Courtney 2. FG. 17. 3-pointers 5 (Hodge 2, Brown, Tabor, Johnson. FT. 8-15. Fouls 15.
Lady Rockets win first regional game in OT
Little did Lady Rocket coach Shannon Hodge know back in 1984 when she hit a game-winning layup to help beat Hopkinsville 41-40 in the Second Region Tournament, she would be the Crittenden head coach the next time the school won a game in the regional tournament.
But after a long 26-year wait, the Lady Rockets gave Hodge her first win in the Second Region Tournament as a coach Tuesday night at Dixon, with a thrilling 57-54 overtime triumph over Christian County.
The win over the Lady Colonels Tuesday was very special, as Crittenden advances to face Henderson County Friday night in the semifinal round in Webster County.
In a game that featured 16 ties and neither team leading by more than five points, Crittenden (13-13) was never intimidated against the bigger school.
Shortly after the game, the always humble Lady Rocket skipper tried to downplay the fact that she had just recorded her first win in the Second Region Tournament during her coaching career.
“It’s not about me anymore. It’s about these kids,” she said.
Primarily almost always a man-to-man defensive team, Hodge switched things up playing both a 3-2 and 2-3 zone to try and make the Lady Colonels beat them from the outside.
The strategy was very successful, as Christian proved to have trouble knocking down outside shots with any regularity.
Lady Rocket junior point guard Jessi Hodge had a fabulous outing, scoring 21 points and dishing out eight assists, helping her team advance to the semifinal round.
Interestingly, her mother was also a junior when she hit the game-winning shot over Hopkinsville in the school’s last regional win.
Eighth-grade guard Bailey Brown chipped in with 10 points and also gave the Lady Rockets steady guard play to help stun the Lady Colonels.
As has been the case in every game of the postseason, Crittenden took good care of the basketball, committing only 11 turnovers in the victory.
With the score knotted at 45-all in regulation, the Lady Rockets missed a shot to retake the lead with :12 ticks left. But they got a fortunate break when a Lady Colonel lost the ball out-of-bounds with :09 seconds left.
With the game still knotted, Hodge called a timeout with :03 ticks left and Whitney Johnson got a decent look before the buzzer. But she was not able to connect as the Lady Colonels rebounded the miss and the game headed to overtime.
Lady Rocket off guard Laken Tabor made her only trey of the game with :50 ticks remaining in overtime to give her team a 55-52 lead they would never relinquish on the way to the exciting win.
One of the few things the winners did not do well was make free throws as they were only 8-of-15 from the charity stripe. Their inability to be better in that area almost forced another overtime.
“I wish we could have made some more free throws,” the Crittenden coach said after the game.
Leading 57-54 with :04 seconds left in the extra frame, the Lady Rockets misfired on a pair of free tosses and the Lady Colonels drove all the way down the floor and missed a three-pointer right before the buzzer.
Hodge listed the game as the biggest win during her tenure and hopes the crisp performance carries over into the semifinal round against Henderson, who has captured five straight Second Region Tournament titles.
“Its a big step for our program. I’m just tickled to death for our players,” she said.