The Irish came back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to outlast Austintown Fitch.
By CHUCK HOUSTEAU
AUSTINTOWN -- On a night when Ursuline High's standout sophomore Courtney Davidson struggled offensively, the Irish still found a way to win.
Senior Cathie Walsh buried a 3-pointer from deep in the corner at the buzzer in regulation to force a 56-56 tie, and the Irish out-scored Fitch 9-4 in overtime to defeat the Falcons 65-60 Thursday in a Steel Valley Conference game.
"We showed a lot of character in the second half," said Ursuline coach Sean Durkin. "In the final 2 1/2 minutes, we made big play after big play to get back in the game, and I have to give our kids a lot of credit."
Rallied: Ursuline (14-5, 5-2 SVC) rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, although Davidson had trouble finding her shooting range against Fitch's aggressive box-and-one defense.
Davidson hit only 2-of-18 shots in regulation for six points. She scored a basket and made two free throws in overtime to finish with 10 points.
Earlier this year, Davidson scored 34 points against Fitch in a 61-49 victory over the Falcons. She's averaged over 20 points per game this season.
Ursuline's intense full-court press in the final moments and in overtime enabled the Irish to overcome the 10-point margin.
Walsh's shot off an in-bounds pass with only 1.9 seconds remaining found the bottom of the net as time expired.
"We knew that they would key on Courtney [Davidson]," Durkin said. "So we drew up a play for one of our two hot shooters [Walsh and Ashley Parry]. Walsh made a tough shot with a hand in her face."
Walsh nets 20: Walsh, who scored a career-high 20 points, said that she wasn't nervous when she heard her name called during the timeout prior to the shot.
"I was a little surprised that Coach drew up the play for me because I was expecting Courtney to get the ball," Walsh said. "I didn't want to let my teammates down."
Walsh and Parry were able to keep the Irish within striking distance throughout the game as Davidson and Christina Cook, Ursuline's second-leading scorer, both had off nights.
Walsh hit four 3-pointers and Parry three against Fitch's defensive alignment. Parry finished with 13 points.
Cook clicks: In the fourth quarter and in overtime, Cook scored 10 of her 14 points to also help fuel the rally.
"That was a tough loss to swallow," said Fitch coach Mary Ann McGahagan. "Our kids played a heck of a basketball game from the first quarter to the fourth. I couldn't have asked our kids to play any better or harder than they did tonight."
The Falcons (11-8, 3-4) were led by senior Kim Buhro, who scored 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in her last home game.
Junior Katie McDermott scored 20 points, including eight in the fourth quarter as the Irish were rallying.
Fitch jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter and led by as many as 10 points (18-8), before settling for a 26-20 halftime advantage.
Ursuline took a 32-31, on a Parry basket with 4:09 remaining in the third period, but the Falcons regrouped, opening a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Fitch out-rebounded the Irish, 48-34.