By Michael Lindsay
The Stone Memorial Lady Panthers overcame a double-digit deficit Tuesday evening to win at Clarkrange, 58-57.
“Wins here are rare, and Clarkrange is solid,” said Stone Memorial head coach Mike Buck. “I’m super proud of our girls. We’ve been on them about staying focused and making tough plays even when things don’t go right. Without that, we lose tonight.”
Lady Panther sophomore Kortney Headrick scored 13 points, including the two go-ahead free throws with 34.6 seconds remaining to put her team up by one (58-57).
“It’s a big moment and she stepped up in it,” Buck said. “She was happy to be at the line and I know her teammates were confident in her.”
Headrick’s free throws were followed by a game-sealing block and rebound by junior Kailee Waldo, who finished with 11 points.
“This is her first experience carrying some weight at the high school level; we’ve been on her hard,” Buck said. “I’m so proud of the way she came through for us. That’s who we all expect her to be.”
Rachel Houston hit 4 three-pointers for the Lady Panthers, totaling 12 points.
Clarkrange’s scoring was balanced Tuesday as Chloe Rogers posted 12 points, followed by Kady Hopkins and Addy Stowers with 11 each.
It was Clarkrange who controlled the game early as the Lady Buffaloes led 17-11 after one period and pushed their lead to 13 points (24-11) early in the second period.
“There are few places in the state more difficult to come win than here,” Buck said. “We got down double figures early and it didn’t matter; we kept fighting.”
Stone Memorial weathered the storm and went into halftime down 37-31.
The Lady Panthers broke through and took a 41-39 lead with 5:02 remaining in the third quarter. They led by as many as 6 (45-39) late in the third before an 11-3 Clarkrange run to close the period capped off by a Mattie Bush buzzer-beater put the Lady Buffaloes up 50-48.
Clarkrange led 57-53 with 1:40 remaining before a Lily Hinch corner three-pointer brought SMHS within one at 57-56.
Stone Memorial then forced a turnover, setting up Headrick’s game-winning free throws with 34.6 seconds left to give the Lady Panthers a 58-57 victory.
Stone Memorial improves to 6-3 overall and hosts DeKalb County Friday in their first home game of the season and District 7AAA opener.
Clarkrange drops to 5-4 overall and takes a week off before traveling to Van Buren County.
Stone Memorial (58): Kortney Headrick 13, Rachel Houston 12, Kailee Waldo 11, Ashley Whittenburg 9, Lily Hinch 6, Adison Howard 5, Kara VonAchen 2
Clarkrange (57): Chloe Rogers 12, Addy Stowers 11, Kady Hopkins 11, Kacy Sells 9, Mattie Bush 8, Ashton Napier 6