By Will Willems
The Class 3A No. 4 Lebanon Lady Tigers needed a big shot trailing by one with 19.3 seconds left against Class 2A No. 3 Heritage Christian.
Enter Kristen Spolyar. The freshman hit a off-balance jumper with 14.0 seconds remaining to give the Tigers the lead and Lebanon held on from there for a 48-47 victory.
“You can’t ask for a better shot for someone like Kristen Spolyar to take,” Lebanon head coach Beth DeVinney said. “For a freshman on this stage, I can’t say enough about her stepping in and taking this shot. She is just steady. She doesn’t have a lot of ups and downs and she wants to take the shot regardless of whether up, down or tied.”
Lebanon led by seven heading to the fourth quarter, but Heritage Christian used a 9-0 to take a 44-42 lead with 3:25 to play.
Spolyar hit two free throws to tie the game with 3:13 to play, but the Eagles’ Taylor Hall banked in a 3-pointer with 2:51 to play to give Heritage Christian the 47-44 advantage. They wouldn’t score again.
“We mixed up our defenses a little bit,” DeVinney said. “We mixed up our zones and a little bit of man. They had a couple of shots that just didn’t fall. They had good looks at the basket and they just overshot the basket. But you have to give our kids credit, they rebounded. You have to give our kids a heck of a lot credit.”
Lebanon missed on the other end, but Tyasha Harris missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:31 to go.
Carly Greene hit two free throws with 1:14 to go to cut the deficit to 47-46 with 1:14 to go, and on the other end rebounded a miss by Heritage Christian’s Sydney Hall to give Lebanon an opportunity to take the lead.
After a timeout, Lebanon got a shot in the corner from Aspen Davis, but it was no good. The Eagles were fouled again, but once again missed the front-end of a 1-and-1.
Lebanon called timeout with 19.3 seconds left to set up a final play.
Spolyar got the ball just to the left of the top of the key, drove, pulled up at the free throw line and fought through contact for the go-ahead basket.
For more of this story, read Tuesday's Lebanon Reporter.