Giana Russo of Lisbon High School dives over Megan Sorel of Mt. Abram during a scramble for the ball in Lisbon on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
LISBON — Maddie Phelps didn’t look like she had a care in the world when she dropped in the game-winning free throws with 10.4 seconds left in a Mountain Valley Conference girls’ basketball game.
The wide-eyed freshman forward was terrified despite her heroics at the free-throw line that handed Mt. Abram (2-2) a 46-45 victory over Lisbon (0-3) Monday night.
“To be honest, I Was super scared, especially playing my freshman year at varsity,” Phelps said. “I was super excited to have the honor to play.
“I was (scared). I guess you could say I am pretty good at hiding it,” she said. “At first, I kind of felt a little out of it, but once I get into the game and start shooting the ball … (I settle down).”
Just for good measure, freshman guard Kaylee Knight nailed down the victory with her two free throws with 3.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
“I was very nervous,” Knight said. “I knew if they made another shot, we would be down and so it was sort of nerve-racking. Just take deep breaths and hope for the best. I think we did really good together.”
By the end of the game, the tenacious Roadrunners lost several key players to foul trouble in the fourth quarter, including junior guard Summer Ross, who scored a game-high 25 points and hit four 3-pointers, and strong rebounder and senior forward Megan Sorel with seven points.
The fourth quarter was certainly a nail-biter for Mt. Abram coach Larry Donald and it didn’t ease his nerves when Lisbon’s Charlee Cox hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer.
“Very nervous,” Donald said. “At the end of the game, we had a senior, junior and three freshmen on the court. We have six out of the 12 kids that are freshmen.”
“Very good. Very nice,” Donald said of Phelps’ free throws. “We had that kind of situation the other night, and she missed both, so it was good to see them step up.
“But I sat them down at the timeout and said, ‘I got faith in you freshmen. You guys got to have faith in yourselves.’ We had a little issue the other day with some of the upperclassmen saying our freshmen aren’t stepping up. They stepped up tonight.”
With 2:05 left in the game — and the Greyhounds just a step behind — junior guard Valerie Doucette went under and came up with two points to tie the game at 41-41.
The score was eventually deadlocked at 42-42 and it appeared the teams were heading to overtime with 20 seconds left in the game.
That’s when Phelps went to the hoop, and an offensive foul was called on her at first, but the call was meant to be a defensive foul, sending Phelps (six points) to the free-throw line, where she sank both shots.
For Lisbon, Giana Russo scored a team-high 11 points and was instrumental in keeping the Greyhounds in contention in that up-and-down fourth quarter.
But the mix-up in foul calls that directed Phelps to the charity stripe was an eye-opener for Lisbon coach Julie Petrie.
“We were like celebrating one second and then just completely like, ‘What?!,'” Petrie said. “It is frustrating. But that is hard for the girls to work to get that position and then momentum shift totally changed and we could see it in our kids.
“We talked about keeping that mental toughness together right to the end, but (there was) definitely a momentum shift.
“I thought some girls really stepped up tonight, but just a brand new look we haven’t seen and adjusting and … they grind and chipped away,” Petrie said.
The Mt. Abram High School bench reacts after Maddie Phelps sinks two foul shouts to put the Roadrunners up 44-42 with just over 10 seconds left in the game against Lisbon on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Summer Ross, left, of Mt. Abram defends Mallory Fairbanks of Lisbon during the fourth period in Lisbon on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Giana Russo of Lisbon drives to the basket against Mt. Abram in Lisbon on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Megan Sorel of Mt. Abram defends Anna Willey of Lisbon during the third period in Lisbon on Monday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Lisbon head coach Julie Petrie reacts following a reversed call by the referee with just over ten seconds left in Monday’s game against Mt. Abram. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)