The Bulldogs took advantage of a late technical foul call on the Champion coach.
CORTLAND -- While it was not the most physical aspect of the matchup between the Champion High girls basketball team and rival Lakeview on Monday, a reaction by Flashes coach Jeff Thompson late in the fourth quarter resulted in a technical foul and ultimately a 58-57 Trumbull Athletic Conference victory for the Bulldogs.
Trailing 55-52, Champion senior Jessica Wood drove the lane, fired an errant shot, but rebounded her own miss and scored to pull the Flashes within one with 1:39 to play. However, Thompson, believing that Wood was fouled on her initial field goal attempt, jumped off the bench and was quickly hit with a technical foul by referee Jerry Denovchek.
Lakeview sophomore Jennifer Baker calmly sank the two technical foul shots and pushed the Bulldogs' lead to 57-54. Lakeview retained possession on the technical and worked the clock until Baker was fouled at the 1:04 mark, converting 1-of-2 at the line to give the Bulldogs a four-point cushion.
"That technical helped us out," said first-year Lakeview coach Courtney Collins. "It gave us back the momentum to finish the game."
More intensity needed
Although disheartened by the call and the outcome, Thompson was pleased with the play of his team, which fell to 13-6 overall and 9-4 in the TAC.
"The referee said that I cannot jump up off the bench and yell 'she got fouled,' " said Thompson. "He's going to make the call, so I'm going to leave it at that. If we would have played the first half with the intensity we played in the second half, it would have been a different ball game. We've just got to play 32 minutes.
"Against a good team you can't make mistakes and get away with it," he continued. "We just made too many mistakes along the way that we wound up paying for."
Lakeview (13-6, 9-4) led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter thanks to pressure defense and good guard play on offense.
The Bulldogs did not turn the ball over once in the third, but were able to force four Champion turnovers and convert them into eight points.
However, Champion went on an 18-8 run, sparked by Wood who scored 10 of her game-high 35 points during that run to pull within 54-52 with 2:10 to play in the game. Senior teammate Heather Pegg helped the Flashes' cause by scoring six of her 10 points during that span.
"We got a little tired," said Collins, of the Champion comeback.
"The kids were expending a lot of energy out there, and toward the end of the game we got into a little bit of a lull. Thankfully, we were able to come back at the end and get a victory."
Junior forward Lindsay Whetzel led the Bulldogs with 13 points, while sophomore Chelsea Butler added 10.