Working overtime: Cowgirls clip Eagles in bi-district playoff thriller
February 15, 2023
CARROLLTON – The arena is alive — alive with the pulsating energy radiating from both teams, the synchronous bated breaths and exhales after each play, the screaming of the scoreboard demanding to be heard as each quarter comes to an end— until only one team can distinguish itself from the entity of the game and survive onto the next round of playoffs.
On Monday, the Coppell girls basketball team defeated Allen, 41-38, in overtime in the Class 6A Region I bi-district playoffs at Carrollton Creekview. The Cowgirls (34-3) will face Highland Park at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Euless Trinity in the area playoffs.
With just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, both teams are tied 31-31 when the Eagles call a timeout. In a back-and-forth game of both teams battling for the lead, the Cowgirls are ahead once again after Coppell junior guard Ella Spiller scores a 3-pointer.
As the clock ticks down to 1:09, Allen senior Alexis Cortez scores a 3-pointer, both teams now tied. Neither team was able to score again during the fourth quarter, leaving the regulation score at 34-34, the game advancing into overtime.
The clock runs down to one minute remaining in overtime as Allen gains possession of the ball, Coppell leading, 39-34. Allen freshman Simone Richmond circles the 3-point line, prowling for points, then ascends from the left corner with a jump shot. She falls to the ground as the shot goes in, both sides of the gym roaring.
Richmond’s teammates lift her to her feet, guiding her to the free throw line. Richmond analyzes the shot, attempting to hush out the deafening distraction of the stands. The ball ripples the back of the net, cutting Coppell’s lead to two.
According to Coppell coach Ryan Murphy, Allen posed a threat with its mid-range scorers, meaning the Cowgirls had to keep track of their personnel and recover individually after each play. Senior Jules LaMendola led all scorers with 25 points, as well as all of the team’s points scored in overtime.
Ten, nine, the clock stops there. LaMendola’s teammates pick her up after a foul and LaMendola strides across the court to the foul line for the fourth time in overtime alone, her gaze fixed on the net. Coppell fans clench their fists, almost unable to watch as LaMendola takes the shot.
The Cowgirls now lead 40-38. Everything and everyone in the arena has come to a halt except for the ball bouncing from LaMendola’s hands as she prepares herself for her next free throw. The net ripples and the scoreboard flips to 41-38 Coppell.
The clock resumes and Allen has possession with only eight seconds left. The Cowgirls battle to defend their lead, deterring Allen throughout the final seconds. The final buzzer rings through the arena and the ball is launched to the ceiling as the Cowgirls crash in on each other, celebrating their close triumph over the Eagles.
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