Friday's Columbiana-Crestview game should decide the league race.
By JOHN BUTERA
EAST PALESTINE -- Lisa Simon saved the day in regulation and Carli Washinko came up big in overtime Monday as the Columbiana High girls basketball team defeated East Palestine, 51-47, in a key Tri-County League game.
The Clippers (16-3, 11-2 TCL) will play Crestview (15-3, 10-2) on Friday in a game that likely will decide the league championship.
The Bulldogs led 43-40 when Simon was called for an offensive foul with 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs had a chance to seal the game, but missed two free throws with seven seconds to go.
Simon then redeemed herself, hitting a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.
"I was just hoping I would make it," Simon said.
Added East Palestine coach Dan McKinstry, "Unfortunately, as soon as it left her hand, I knew it was in. It shouldn't have come down to that."
Washinko, who had a game-high 25 points, scored five in overtime, but the Bulldogs stayed within striking distance. Abbey Gorby hit a pair of free throws to pull East Palestine within one, 48-47, with 48 seconds remaining.
Simon then came up big again, making a basket to give Columbiana a 50-47 lead. East Palestine turned the ball over, and Stevie Goist clinched the game with a free throw with seven seconds to go.
The Bulldogs were 0-for-4 from the field with a turnover in overtime.
"Offensively, we couldn't throw the ball into the ocean," Columbiana coach Ben Shaw said. "But we were still in a position to do something.
Early good start
Columbiana started fast, breaking a 4-4 tie with a 10-0 run to end the first quarter. The Clippers led 20-11 with 3:02 remaining in the second quarter, but East Palestine got scores from four different players to cut its deficit to 20-19 at halftime.
The Bulldogs did not have a turnover in the second quarter, and shot 7-of-15 from the field.
But the Clippers struggled offensively in the second half and East Palestine stayed close.
Gorby, who came up big several times for East Palestine, scored a team-high 20 points -- including a field goal and free throw which gave the Bulldogs their first lead, 35-34, with 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Shaw considered getting into overtime a nice break for his team. Prior to Simon's 3-pointer, the Bulldogs were 1-for-10 from the field and 2-for-5 from the 3-point line.
For the game, they were 14-of-27 at the line.
"From the free throw line, it was ridiculous," Shaw said. "But without a doubt, we did a heck of a job defensively."