JOHNSONBURG — The Elk County Catholic girls basketball team captured a key Allegheny Mountain League victory Friday night at Johnsonburg, as the Lady Crusaders outlasted the Ramettes, 54-48, in a thrilling double-overtime affair.
Elk County (11-5, 6-3 in AML) appeared headed to victory in regulation, leading 39-34 with 1:34 left to play. However, a poor night at the free throw line (13 of 27 overall) gave Johnsonburg some life.
And, Ramette Cassidy King took advantage by scoing final five points of the quarter — including a pull-ip 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining to tie game. Elk County failed to get a shot off in the final seconds as the game went to overtime.
Johnsonburg (7-9, 3-2 in AML) grabbed the lead in the first overtime on a 3-pointer by Rylee Casilio — her sixth of the night. The Ramettes maintained that lead the rest of overtime until Lady Crusader went 1 of 2 at the foul line with 13 seconds left to even things at 48-48.
Sady VanAlstine then got a steal to give ECC a chance at the win, but Taylor Newton’s shot at the buzzer came up short.
Johnsonburg wasn’t so lucky in double-overtime, as ECC held the Ramettes scoreless over the final four minutes while Taylor Newton scored all six Lady Crusader points to give Elk County the hard-fought win Newton scored inside with 2:35 remaining to put ECC up for good before going 4 of 4 at the line in the final 1:18 to seal the win.
Newton was the driving force behind the victory with a monster double-double that saw her score 27 points and pull down 17 rebounds. She posted 18 of those points in the fourth quarter or later and finished the night 10 of 13 the line.
“It was a must win for us in the AML,” said ECC coach Ken Pistner. “I thought at times we played really well tonight, and at times we had a few lapses. We let two of their key players get loose one too many times, but I liked how we held our composure.”
King and Casilio scored 22 and 20, respectively, to do their part to keep their team in the game. The Ramettes played its starting five the entire night until King fouled out at the 2:19 mark of double-overtime. Elk County rotated in just one player off its bench.
Casilio opened the game with three straight 3-pointers to put Johnsburg up 9-0 before Newton helped pull ECC even at 11-11 after eight minutes. The game was a back-and-forth battle from there, with the biggest lead being six points (24-18) by ECC in the third quarter.