CORINTH, Maine — Alison Pease hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Dexter High School girls basketball team tipped Central 45-42 in overtime Thursday night at the Central High gym.
It was the senior’s only basket of the game.
“I knew time was running down,” she said, “but we tried to stay in our offense.”
The ball had been reversed to her because she was open.
“I looked to reverse it again, but then I could hear people yelling, ‘Shoot it, shoot it,’” she said. “I did and I didn’t even realize it went in until everyone started jumping on me.”
Senior Emylee Miles had just hit a 3 with 10.1 seconds left to tie the game for Central, possibly giving the Red Devils new life for a second four-minute overtime, only to have Pease follow with the winner from the top left side of the arc.
“It was one of those situations where you just keep playing,” said Dexter coach Jody Grant, who was happy to see some of his subs make key contributions.
“Alison and Abbie [Melvin] played big minutes for us,” said Grant. “For them to come in and get in the mix [was key].”
Senior Jordyn Bell led the visiting Tigers (3-0) in scoring with a game-high 18 points. Senior Lauren Crane added three third-quarter 3s for nine points, and junior Melvin had six.
Sophomore Bree Skolfield led the defending Class C state champion Red Devils (1-2) with 13 points before fouling out with 1:59 remaining in overtime, senior Max McHugh added 11 and Miles finished with 10.
“It’s a bummer, but that’s the way things fall sometime,” said McHugh, a quick senior guard.
McHugh is often the Devils’ choice when a 3-pointer is needed, so Central coach Diane Rollins decided to switch to Miles.
“We knew the attention would be on me,” said McHugh, “so we set up the play for another [to shoot the] 3.”
Miles knocked it down cleanly from just right of the top of the 3-point arc.
Rollins wasn’t surprised that the game went the way it did.
“I knew it was going to be close,” said Rollins. “They’re a very good defensive team, and they pressed us the whole game.”
Both teams’ defenses dominated in the first half as the first quarter ended in a 6-6 deadlock and Dexter led at the half 12-11. The shots started dropping a lot faster after halftime.
“We took a lot more time on our shots in the second half,” said McHugh. “When we started our reversals, then they started to fall. Reversing the ball gave us time to set up and relax before shooting.”
The reversals also opened up some space for Skolfield, who is especially tough close to the basket.
With Dexter leading 32-29 early in the fourth quarter, Skolfield scored seven straight points for Central in 3½ minutes sandwiched around a basket by Dexter’s Gabrielle Adam and giving the Red Devils only their second lead of the game at 36-34.
Dexter countered with baskets by Bell with 1:30 left in regulation and Melvin with 48.9 seconds to go to regain the lead.
A pair of free throws by Skolfield with 27 seconds left re-tied the contest, and McHugh’s running bank shot from the left side kicked off the backboard and the front of the rim, and the teams headed into OT.
Michaela White and Bell hit the front end of one-and-ones to put the Tigers up, the second foul being the one that sat Skolfield for the rest of the game.
McHugh hit one of two free throws to cut the margin in half with 1:12 remaining.
Bell missed two free throws with 1:07 left, but hit one of two twice at 36.7 and 21.1 to give the Tigers their 3-point lead before the Miles and Pease shots brought the game to its stunning conclusion.
“It’s always good to play with enthusiasm, and it finally paid off,” said Pease.