Sam Patrone’s free throws upend Jackson-Milton’s undefeated record
By ERIC FORTUNE
For South Range coach Tony Matisi, this was as great as it could get as every possession during the final quarter was so important as his Raider squad squeaked by previously unbeaten Jackson-Milton 36-34 Monday night.
“People may look at the score and say its nerve racking; it’s fun,” Matisi said. “It’s fun to be in a game like that. Being able to coach back-and-forth and back-and-forth each play, each possession.”
The Raiders (3-4, 2-0) had built a 29-28 lead heading into the final quarter, but their prospects of picking up the upset seemed to be fading fast as the Blue Jays’ two field goals put them in front 32-29. South Range got it within one midway through the fourth quarter after Maddie Durkin made 2-of-3 from the charity strip after a lane violation gave her an extra shot from the line.
Michaelina Terranova responded with a bucket to push it back out to a three point lead.
It stayed 34-31 for the next couple of minutes until Sam Patrone got fouled on a three point attempt. She made all three to tie the game up with 1:51 left to play. With 47.1 seconds left in the game, Patrone made her way back to the line, hitting both free throws for the winning points.
The Raiders shot 0-of-7 from the field, but made 7-of-9 down the stretch to get the win.
“Sami hit some big free throws,” Matisi said. “She’s our best free throw shooter. I figured once the first rattled around and went down, I kind of counted on her making the next two. For her to come back later and make two more, that was big to get the lead and put a little pressure on them.”
Matisi felt that was momentum swing his team needed.
“We weren’t getting any looks at 3s. So, I’m figuring two possessions to at least tie it or go ahead. Getting the 3 to tie it was big,” Matisi said.
For Jackson-Milton (8-1, 3-0) it was a frustrating night where they were cold shooting (8-of-29) for three out of four quarters and only got to the free throw line twice compared to 17 times for the Raiders.
“The ball wasn’t falling in,” Jackson-Milton coach Pat Keney said. “That’s all there is to it. If it doesn’t fall in, you don’t score points. They made their foul shots at the end of the game to win the game for them.”
Durkin led the Raiders with 17 points and eight rebounds while Patrone added 13 to pace South Range.
Both were huge in the finish and getting the Raiders going scoring 12 of the Raiders 13 opening quarter points where they opened up an 11-2 lead at one point.
Heading into the second quarter, the Blue Jays’ Kaitlyn Totani got hot scoring Jackson-Milton’s first 13 points of the quarter to get them within 24-20 at the half.
She would though only finish with 13 points as the Blue Jays lost her scoring as well as starting guard Emily Williams with a head injury in the first half.
“I thought our 1-3-1 was fabulous the first quarter and a half,” Matisi said. “We got tired in it and they found our mistakes, just moving the ball around the perimeter and getting open shots on the wings. They got hot there and forced us to do something.
“We had talked about them before the game that they might be the best team on our schedule, Matisi added.
“We started the season out, just horribly. We could have used another month of practice. Every game we’ve taken a step, improved, cut down mistakes, played better defense, and a little more patient offensively. Tonight was another big step for us.”