Sherwood girls tipped again by Century
Close. So close.
But, for the second time against Century, the Sherwood High School girls basketball team came up one point short.
The Lady Bowmen, who lost 27-26 to the Jaguars earlier this season, fell 34-33, in overtime, to Century in a Pacific Conference girls basketball game played Friday at Century High School.
"We got everything we wanted in terms of open shots, we just had a rough night shooting it," Sherwood coach Wes Pappas said after the game. "It would've been nice to get to the line more, but they did a good job keeping us off the line as well. And that's another of their strengths."
With the loss, Sherwood moved to 5-6 in conference play (12-11 overall), putting the Lady Bowmen in fifth place in the conference standings. Century improved to 6-5 in conference games (16-7 overall), putting the Jaguars in fourth place in the standings.
"This was a huge game for us," Century coach Dave Gainey said. "It might be the biggest win we've had all season because of the playoff situation."
On this night, Century was led by the inside play of posts Amy Walkenhorst and sophomore Barakat Rahmon, who combined for 23 points and 19 rebounds. But in addition to their play offensively, it was on the defensive end that they may have had their biggest impact, blocking shots and altering Sherwood shot attempts.
"Both their bigs are really tough and they killed us on the boards, (12 offensive rebounds) and that's where they got their points," said Sherwood head coach Wes Pappas. "I thought we played okay, but we were too perimeter oriented (19 3-point attempts). They were the better team down low and they really focused on getting it down there. This has been a rough shooting year for us, so that was probably not the best mix for us."
Sherwood's loss however was Century's gain, as Gainey spoke to his continued effort to take advantage of his team's size advantage. While not instinctive to either the 6-foot-6 Walkenhorst or 5-foot-11 Rahmon, the Jaguars' coach has repeatedly coaxed the two into playing more aggressively, something he was proud of them for tonight.
"We've really tried to stress that we have an advantage in the post most games in this league, so for those two we just want them to be aggressive and physical," Gainey said. "If they get a few fouls, fine, but if they play tentative they're not taking advantage of their skill set. Both the girls are young, so down the road they can really be a big factor."
Sherwood started fast, taking a 12-7 first quarter lead on the back of two threes by senior guard Aubrie Emmons. Century closed the gap to two just before halftime, but the Bowmen made it 19-15 headed to the locker room thanks to a buzzer-beating put-back by senior Alex Verkamp.
Century's Angie Baltazar opened the third quarter with a quick score, then the Jags took just their second lead of the game when Walkenhorst scored four straight to put Century ahead 21-19.
And that's when things seemed to go south for Sherwood.
After junior Julia Leitzinger tied the game 21-21, the Bowmen went nearly five minutes without a basket and watched the home Jaguars go on a 9-1 run before Rahmon's lay-in gave Century a 32-24 lead with just 4:30 remaining in the game. But while all seemed lost for Sherwood, especially when Emmons fouled out, the Bowmen got a three from Leitzinger, a free throw from Ava Boughey, and a bucket from Joley Sproul before three consecutive free throws from Kaytlin Cooke tied the game, 33-33, sending the two teams to overtime.
"I was super proud of our girls in terms of battling back," Pappas said. "That thing looked like it was over and we had some kids in there that don't normally see a lot of time, so the comeback was done by a lot of girls that aren't normally there."
Walkenhorst got things started in overtime, making one of two free throws. As it turned out, that's all the Jaguars would need, as Century successfully limited Sherwood opportunities in the extra period and Walkenhorst turned away the ones they got, blocking two shots in the final seconds to secure the Jaguar win.
Walkenhorst led all scorers with 12 points, while Rahmon added 11.
For Sherwood, Leitzinger had 11 points and nine rebounds, while Emmons added nine and Cooke chipped-in six.
The Lady Bowmen will finish their regular-season schedule Thursday with a 5:45 p.m. conference game against Glencoe.