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Nail-biter went Lakewood’s way in 60-57 overtime win
LAKEWOOD — Home court advantage isn’t usually a big help to Lakewood athletics. Yet, after the Cougars’ Jan. 23 overtime victory over Sultan, the girls had to thank and acknowledge the fans.
The Cougars won against their Cascade Conference rival Sultan, 60-57. Lakewood coach Chris Walster said, “I hoped the home-court advantage would play a big part and it did. Being at home and having a big crowd helped us win this game.”
Lakewood trailed by five at the end of the first quarter, but was able to lead the Turks by four at halftime, 30-26.
The game was close the whole way, and became interesting as regulation was coming to a close. With 1:48 left in the fourth quarter Cougar junior Maria Wiederkehr — who had foul trouble all night, entering the fourth quarter with four — scored to tie the game at 48 apiece. Lakewood senior captain Anna Work would eventually lead all scorers with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but missed two free throws with under a minute to go in the game. After a few turnovers, the game was going to overtime.
Lakewood kicked off overtime with a six-point run. But with 1:10 left, Sultan tied the game at 54. Wiederkehr, who finished the game with 13 points and 12 rebounds, came to the rescue with one minute remaining to score from in the paint. Lakewood’s two-point lead was short-lived as the Turks answered back with a three-pointer. Under pressure, Wiederkehr shot another jumper to put the Cougars in the lead, 58-57. From that point on, Lakewood led. Jillian Shafer and Kaylee Diggs added two points off of free-throw attempts.
With 5.3 seconds on the clock, down by three, Sultan had a chance to tie. As they ran through their designed play, it seemed Sultan would get an open shot. As a Sultan guard appeared to be getting the ball for an open look, Lakewood senior Jillian Shafer threw her hand out and denied the ball.
“It really hurt bad,” exclaimed Shafer after the game. “I didn’t see it coming, then, it came. It felt like a big moment.”