Ranger Girls Win OT Thriller Over Avon
The LHS girls basketball team defeated Avon 49-45 on Wednesday night in an overtime thriller at Lakewood Gym. Senior guard Isabel Cintron hit two clutch free throws in the final second of regulation to force the game to overtime. The Rangers won the overtime session despite their two main scorers having fouled out in regulation.
The game began as a defensive battle, with Lakewood holding a 4-3 lead over six minutes into play. Avon’s Juliann Walker finished the first quarter with a seven point scoring barrage in the final two minutes, leading the Eagles to a 10-6 lead at the break. Walker scored all ten of Avon’s points in the first period.
The scoring pace picked up in the second quarter, as Avon maintained a narrow lead throughout. The Eagles led 23-19 with less than a minute remaining in the half, but Lakewood closed on a 5-0 run. Senior Olivia Nagy scored a field goal with 29 seconds remaining, then senior Christian Massey hit a three pointer at the buzzer to give the Rangers a 24-23 halftime lead. Massey’s shot brought the enthusiastic Ranger crowd to its feet.
Lakewood sustained momentum early in the third period, building a 31-24 lead. They held Avon scoreless for nearly six minutes to open the second half. However, as in the first quarter, the Eagles went on a scoring spurt to take the lead. Avon senior guard Karlee Clements closed the period with a desperation three point heave from half court. The ball went in, giving Avon a 33-31 lead at the end of the third.
The game went back and forth during the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. Avon guard Elizabeth Flynn hit a three pointer with five minutes remaining that put the Eagles ahead 40-36. Lakewood cut the lead to 40-39 with just under four minutes remaining. Avon then went into a “four corners” offense to drain the clock. The Rangers committed fouls to force Avon to the free throw line, where they struggled during the final couple minutes. Avon did make one foul shot to make the lead 41-39 with 8.8 seconds remaining. Massey and Nagy had fouled out of the game during the final minutes, so Lakewood’s chances seemed slim. Cintron drove to the basket, getting fouled with 0.8 seconds remaining. She had two free throws, and her team trailed by two points. She calmly drained them both, igniting the Ranger crowd to a frenzy as the game went to overtime tied 41-41.
Lakewood scored the first four points of overtime, the first two off a pair of Courtney Ribar free throws. Cintron followed with a field goal, and the Rangers were able to hold on for the win. Ribar hit three more clutch free throws down the stretch to preserve the 49-45 win. Nagy led the Rangers with 15 points; Massey, Cintron, and Ribar each scored nine points.
The Rangers return to action Saturday afternoon with a home game against Westlake. Junior varisty is scheduled for noon, followed by the varsity game at around 1:45. The girls basketball program is also hosting a fundraiser this Saturday at Around the Corner. The event, which costs $25 at the door, will include food, drink, side boards, a silent auction and a 50-50 raffle. The fundraiser will take place from 7-9pm.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1