MILLER CITY — Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting refocused.
After Miller City lost its lead in the second half of Friday’s key Putnam County League girls basketball game, Miller City head coach Ross Heuerman calmed his team down.
Continental did force the game to overtime.
However, Miller City regained its composure and finally slipped out with a hard-fought 56-48 victory Friday night against Continental at J. Harry Leopold Gymnasium.
Miller City’s inside players, Natalie Koenig and Abi Lammers, took over both the boards and scoring, to lead the Wildcats to the victory.
Koenig led Miller City (9-1, 3-1 PCL) with 22 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Lammers scored 17 points and pulled down a game-high 16 boards. Lammers also came away with four steals. Adrienne Kuhlman added nine points, including two 3-pointers for the Wildcats.
“Natalie Koenig and Abi Lammers – they’re the beasts down there (inside the paint),” Heuerman said. “They do whatever they have to do, to get a rebound. We got on them a little bit in the third and fourth quarters, because we were giving up so many rebounds, coming out of the half. But they really tightened it up in the fourth quarter, and heading into overtime. … We’re very proud of that.”
Addyson Armey led Continental (6-5, 0-2 PCL) with 22 points, four rebounds and three assists. Teammate Alex Hoeffel had 13 points, including two 3-pointers.
The lead changed hands twice in the first quarter, before Miller City started to pull away.
The Wildcats pushed out to a 12-4 advantage by the 3:32 mark of the first quarter. Miller City was 5 of 7 shooting from the field during that stretch.
Miller City picked up the pace the final three minutes of the opening period. The Wildcats extended their lead to 21-8 by the first stop.
Kuhlman led the way for Miller City in the first eight minutes of action. Kuhlman scored nine first-quarter points, including two 3-pointers. Continental struggled, hitting just 4 of 15 from the floor in the first stanza. Miller City was 9 of 13 from the floor.
Tables were turned in the second period.
Miller City came out in the second stanza and struggled at the offensive end.
The Wildcats were just 2 of 12 from the field. The Pirates outscored the Wildcats 11-5 in the second quarter, to cut the deficit to 26-19 by the halftime break.
Armey led Continental in the first half with nine points.
Miller City controlled the boards in the first half, 19-12. For the game, Miller City held the edge, 37-34.
Early in the third quarter, Continental cut the deficit to 3, 26-23, on an inside move by Hoeffel.
A little later, Continental tied the game at 28, on a layup by Catelyn Etter (six points, 10 rebounds), with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
The Pirates finally claimed its first lead – since the early moments of the first quarter – 31-30, on a 3-pointer by Hoeffel with 1:40 left to play in the third stanza.
Miller City responded and slipped out with a 34-31 lead by the third stop.
Miller City turned the ball over six times in the third period.
For the game, Miller City turned it over 18 times. Continental turned it over 16 times.
“They sped us up a little bit with that pressure,” Heuerman said. “We weren’t looking to make the easy pass. … We were looking to make the home run pass. Once we got calmed down and realized where the easy pass was, then we got it under control.”
With 3:31 left to play in regulation, Hoeffel hit a 3-pointer from the right wing, to cut the Miller City lead to 2, 38-36.
Then, with 1:22 left to play, Continental reclaimed the lead, 42-40, on a layup by Armey.
But Miller City answered.
Lammers came right back with a layup to knot the game at 42, with a minute left to play in regulation.
The Pirates were not done.
With 57.9 seconds left to play, Hoeffel canned two free throws to give her team a 44-42 lead.
Once again, Miller City had an answer.
With 40 seconds left to play, Lammers went strong to the basket to knot the game at 44.
But, with less than 10 seconds to play in regulation, Continental had the basketball.
With 2.3 seconds left, Hoeffel was fouled on a rebound. Hoeffel missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Miller City rebounded the ball.
The Wildcats had one more opportunity in regulation.
With two seconds left, Miller City had to travel the full length of the floor.
However, the Wildcats could not get it down the floor, and game went to overtime.
In the extra session, Miller City outscored Continental 12-4 to secure the thrilling win.
“Every time we play them, it’s a tough matchup,” Heuerman said. “We got the start we wanted to. We talked about getting off to a good start, establishing our post game, knocking down some big shots, and making those plays.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.