The Lady Bulldogs pulled within one point in the final seconds of the game but turned the ball over on their final possession
Six minutes into Monday's basketball game, it looked like the Dixon Lady Bulldogs (9-8) planned to run away with their matchup against the Calvary Lutheran Lady Lions (9-3).
Five different Bulldogs – Madison Duncan, Tressa Hughes, Megan Gilbert, Tayler McKinnon and Lauren Gilbert – got involved in a 12-0 run to start the game.
However, the Lions answered with a 21-2 run that lasted until 4:57 left in the half and Dixon never regained the lead in a 62-60 loss.
Lady Bulldogs coach Cole Garnette said the Osage Tournament might have taken a toll on his players.
“Honestly, we played three or four games last week so I think we got a little tired,” Garnette said. “We just got lost on defense. They moved the ball around and we got over-rotated.”
A Duncan three with just seconds left on the halftime clock kept the margin at five, Lions leading 33-28.
Calvary coach Jonathan Kueck said he praised his team in the locker room both during and after the game for maintaining a goal they have kept all season long.
“The biggest thing that I've been telling the girls this season is hold our composure,” Kueck said. “They've bought into it. If we hold our composure the shots will fall. The work that we've put into practices and the way we play our game, it will happen. Thankfully, tonight it didn't take too long.”
Dixon managed to inch closer in the third quarter, heading into the fourth quarter down 43-39.
The Lions led by as much as 10 in the final frame but when 6'1” Sam Gunn, who shared the team-lead with 15 points Monday, fouled out the Bulldogs pounced.
Amy Wade hit a right wing three-pointer and Khloe Irvin had a basket to trim the lead to four.
Then, Calvary shooters went 1-5 from the free throw line on their next three offensive possessions.
“That's definitely an area that is volatile,” Kueck said. “It's up and down. Sometimes in practice, we'll shoot only 50 percent and then in a game we'll shoot 68 or 70 percent. Tonight, we didn't.”
All told, Calvary was 17-29 from the charity stripe.
Still, the Lions were able to push the lead back up to six with 1:13 remaining in regulation.
McKinnon then had a basket, steal and a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 59-56.
Brooke Rollins knocked down two free throws to push the Calvary lead back up to five before Hughes snapped the net with a shot and followed her bucket with a steal and an assist to Duncan to make it a one-point game with 13.8 seconds left.
A foul sent the Lions Rebecca Thompson to the charity stripe with 11.2 left on the clock. She split her free throws and Dixon fans went wild.
The elation didn't last long. Their team turned the ball over almost as soon as they crossed the court.
It was the seventh turnover of the fourth quarter but Garnette said that's expected when playing catch-up.
“You're trying to go fast and you're trying to get open shots,” he said. “Seven turnovers playing in the fourth, I think we probably had 40 possessions or so in the fourth, so seven out of 40 I wouldn't think is too bad. But, yeah, if we take care of the ball maybe one or two more times and not turn it over – especially right there at the end with about three seconds left if we could have got to the goal and get a layup or a foul or something – there was a chance to win or tie at least.”
Hughes led all scorers with 17 points Monday. Duncan had 15 points for the Bulldogs, Wade nine, Lauren and Megan Gilbert six, McKinnon five and Khloe Irvin two.
Along with Gunn, Rollins had 15 points to lead the Lions. Abbie Klatt and Thompson had 12, Lily McCarty five and Haley Braun three.
The Lady Bulldogs will have three nights of rest before playing the Crocker Lady Lions (3-12) on Friday.