By Will Willems
The Lebanon Lady Tigers had every opportunity they needed Wednesday night to get another quality win against Class 3A No. 16 Western.
But the No. 3 Tigers made too many mistakes down the stretch and the Panthers out-scored them 10-3 in the final 3:30 to hand the Tigers a 51-48 setback.
“The bottom is that we can’t turn the ball over and we have to have more than three people scoring,” Lebanon head coach Beth DeVinney said. “We had Whitney Cosgray out tonight which hurt our depth tonight a little bit because she is usually is another scorer for us. To give Western credit, they played their butts off; they played really hard. They have some great guards in the O’Neal sisters and their post did what she needed to do — she did a tremendous job. They had a lot more balanced scoring, they had five girls across the board and that is what a good team does, they have five players score around 10 points. They just out-played us tonight.”
Lebanon led 38-33 heading into the final quarter, but the Panthers scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to take a 39-38 lead with 5:38 to play.
The Tigers regained the lead with 4:42 left on a 3-pointer by Katie Curtis and extended the lead to four when Carly Greene had a steal and lay-up just 15 seconds later.
The two teams traded baskets and Lebanon continued to hold a slim 45-43 lead with 1:41 to go.
Lebanon got the stop they needed, and appeared to keep possession when Greene’s shot was blocked out-of-bounds.
But the referee — who originally called a foul on Western — reversed his call and signaled jump ball, giving the possession to the Panthers.
Western was fouled bringing the ball up the court and tied the game with two free throws by Caitlyn O’Neal with 1:15 to play.
Lebanon turned the ball over on the ensuing possession.
The Tigers nearly got a steal at the other end, but O’Neal was able to call timeout to prevent the turnover.
Lebanon had seven turnovers in the fourth quarter and 24 for the game.
For more of this story, read Thursday's Lebanon Reporter.