Completing a three-point play with 16.3 seconds to play, Northeast (Cairo) junior Mackenzie Dubbert lifted her Lady Bearcats past New Haven in a Class 2 quarterfinal game at Moberly Area Community College Saturday, 38-36.
“The girls played hard,” New Haven Head Coach Doug Peirick said. “They did everything they could to win that ballgame. We just couldn’t get it done. You can’t fault their effort or anything.”
New Haven concluded the season with an 18-10 mark while Cairo moves to this week’s MSHSAA State Tournament in Springfield with a 24-6 record.
The fact that New Haven was in a position to have a chance to win was an achievement, especially after the local school had established a huge lead in the second and third quarters.
New Haven held a 12-10 lead after eight minutes, but went ice cold from the field in the second quarter. The Lady Bearcats used a combination of outside and inside shots to forge ahead at the half, 20-14. New Haven was held scoreless in the quarter until senior Mackenzie Bauer hit a basket to close the half.
“We did not have a good first half shooting the ball,” Peirick said. “Shots that normally went in for us just didn’t go in.”
Peirick encouraged his team at the half.
“I told them they were in good shape,” Peirick said. “I fully believed we were going to win that game. The ball was going to start falling into the basket and it did. We just had to run our offense, continue to shoot and play good defense and we did that up until the end.”
In the third quarter, the Lady Bearcats went back to the long-range shots and junior Keegan Ryan buried one to open the quarter. Down by nine points, the Lady Shamrocks fought back once to cut it to five points, 23-18, on a basket by senior Lauren Gerlemann.
Cairo made another small run to increase the gap to nine points again, 27-18, but that’s when New Haven turned on the offense.
Senior Emily Scheer knocked down a three-point basket. That was followed by a two-point shot from senior Kate Ruediger and another two from senior Emma Engelbrecht. The quarter ended with Cairo holding a slim 27-25 lead.
The Lady Shamrocks capped the comeback early in the fourth quarter. Scheer nailed another three with 6:54 to play to give the Lady Shamrocks the lead again.
Scheer was hacked while attempting another three and she knocked down all three free-throws with 5:04 to play, giving New Haven a four-point edge, 31-27.
“We were down nine, fought back and took the lead,” Peirick said. “We were up by four and just couldn’t get one more stop. That’s what we needed We stopped them three times and then they got the basket at the end and it was big for them.”
Cairo went back to its leading scorer and Dubbert nailed a three with 4:51 remaining to slice the lead to one point.
The teams traded the lead back and forth before Scheer hit another three with 2:41 to play, giving New Haven a 36-35 lead.
Neither team found the net again until Dubbert scored, was fouled and hit the free throw with 16.3 seconds to play.
New Haven had a couple of chances to tie the game, but couldn’t get a shot to fall as the large crowd from Cairo celebrated at the horn.
“Late in the game, we had two big turnovers on the offensive end,” Peirick said. “They were pretty much unforced. They called a jump ball which I felt clearly was a foul.”
New Haven stuck with its “Iron Five” and each of the seniors scored in the game.
“They are iron girls pretty much,” Peirick said. “They had to be all year. They played real disciplined, didn’t foul a lot and played good defense. Not many teams had five solid defenders like we did. You play solid defense and get the offense to go. Our offense just didn’t go in the first half.
Scheer was New Haven’s scoring leader with 15 points.
Gerlemann was next with eight points.
Engelbrecht ended with six points.
Ruediger had four points.
Bauer scored two points.
“I’m proud of our seniors,” Peirick said. “We were senior heavy. They played 28 games and never gave up until the last second. We had a steal and a shot in the last 1.5 seconds. That’s just the type of kids they are. They don’t give up. They don’t quit. They’re athletes in everything they do and even better people in everything they do.”
New Haven was 3-4 from the free-throw line for the game and hit three three-point baskets.
The game’s leading scorer was Dubbert, who had 19 points, including six of the eight Cairo tallies in the final quarter.
Junior Kayla Koester checked in with six points.
Ryan and senior Brynn Winkler scored four points apiece and senior Marissa Jochem scored two points.
Cairo went 6-7 from the free-throw line and hit five three-point baskets.