Hubbard beats Fitch on last-second shot
Lynle Cornell made amends for a missed opportunity as a freshman.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
AUSTINTOWN -- Lynle Cornell got even.
The Hubbard High sophomore couldn't help but remember back to last year, when she had the rare opportunity as a freshman of attempting a critical shot at the buzzer in a game against Badger.
Cornell missed a shot in the final second that would have sent the game into overtime. Instead, Hubbard lost. Monday at Fitch High, Cornell found herself in a similar situation, and this time she came through.
Cornell, with her leg hurting from a second-quarter collision, made a jump shot at the overtime buzzer to give the Eagles a 54-52 non-conference victory over Fitch.
"I've been in the same situation before, but it didn't turn out the same way," said Cornell, smiling. "I think I finally made up for that."
Hubbard coach Dave Konczal called Cornell a natural shooter.
"She's a tremendous shooter for a sophomore," Konczal said. "She has a lot of poise for a sophomore, too, to want to take that shot."
Picking up the slack: Playing most of the game without starter Anna DeJulio, who injured her ankle in the first quarter, Hubbard (9-2) rallied from an eight-point first-half deficit to turn back the Falcons (6-5).
Fitch, which scored 21 first-quarter points, took a 23-15 lead at the outset of the second quarter and appeared to be in command.
But the Falcons were plagued by a poor second half in which they made just 5-of-20 field goals, including none in the fourth quarter.
"Instead of attacking like we were, we got too tentative," Fitch coach Mary Ann McGahagan said. "We had an opportunity to put [Hubbard] down a little bit and we didn't do it."
Katie McDermott's two free throws put Fitch up 50-46 with 3 minutes, 37 seconds remaining. They were the Falcons' final points of regulation.
Hubbard rallied for the tie on baskets by Jill Phillips and Cornell, the latter coming at 2:20 off a steal by Jamie Duvall.
The Eagles had one final opportunity in regulation when, out of a timeout, Duvall missed a shot in the lane with two seconds to play.
"I think Jami was a little tired. She didn't have any legs, and that's why that shot didn't go," said Konczal, adding that DeJulio's injury resulted in more minutes for Duvall and the Eagle guards.
Only three baskets were made in overtime. Duvall's jumper put Hubbard ahead 52-50 before Fitch's Cassie Williams tied the score with 22 seconds remaining.
Final strategy: Konczal called a timeout with 10 seconds to play.
"We tried to give [Duvall] three options," Konczal said. "We tried to get her to penetrate a little bit and then just try to spot the open person."
Cornell inbounded to Duvall, who swung the ball to Angela Bata, who then found Cornell open for her game-winning shot from just inside the 3-point line.
"My heart stopped and I shot the ball," Cornell said. "But I couldn't have asked for a better pass."
Cornell scored a team-high 14 points for Hubbard, while Katy Jo Mroski added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
McDermott led Fitch with 16 points, while Dawn Simpson had 12 and Megan Geidner 11. Kim Buhro grabbed 10 rebounds.