DALE – The No. 3 in Class 2A Lady Pirates of Dale took No. 1 Christian Heritage Academy into overtime Tuesday, but couldn't pick up the upset in a 43-40 loss to keep the Crusaders undefeated at 19-0 on the season.
Dale coach Josh Forsythe was happy with how well his girls fought against a team that they knew from previous experience was going to be hard to beat and send the game into overtime.
“All five starters are very talented and can all five score, they all five play physical and they hustle," he said. "They're a super talented team. They can play with anybody in any class in girls basketball.”
Down 36-31 with 44 seconds left in regulation, Mikayla Rutland hit a 3-pointer to pull within two and give the Lady Pirates a chance. CHA's Lexie Davis went to the line and made her first attempt with 27.3 seconds left to set up a Dale rebound and give the Lady Pirates time to find a shot outside of the perimeter to go into extra minutes.
Rutland found the wing again and was provided plenty of spacing on a screen by Claire Chastain to hit another 3-pointer and tie up with short time left.
Rutland and the rest of the team had trouble from long range prior to the burst, but Rutland has been a good 3-point shooter all season and comes up big when the team needs her to, Forsythe said.
“You can hold her down for a while, but if she keeps getting looks she's going to eventually start knocking them down... She's not afraid to make a big shot and shoot a big shot,” he said.
Rutland fouled out shortly after as Olivia Curtis went to the line for Christian Heritage and missed both shots to give Dale the ball back with 3 seconds left but never got the opportunity to get a shot off.
Christian Heritage rallied 6-3 in overtime for the win.
Dale went on a 6-0 run to take an 8-2 lead in the first with 3:54 left. Christian Heritage got into the game late with a 3-1 run to close out and the Lady Pirates took a 9-5 lead into the second.
The teams played defensive ball in the second and Dale kept the Crusaders scoreless till the halfway mark of the quarter. They didn't give up a single bucket but also only gained one of their own on a layup from Rutland to start the quarter on a 7-3 run to lead 16-8 at the half. The Lady Pirates were 4-8 from the line in the quarter for the majority of their points while CHA's Rylee Langerman was 3-4 to gain all of theirs.
The Lady Pirates were the victims of several blocked shots in the second quarter that Forsythe said his girls need to learn to avoid.
“We've got to either jump stop and head fake or we've got to go into them stronger and show the foul," he said. "We've just got to do a better job of when we get in there close at not allowing them to block our shot.”
Langerman led all scorers with 14 points and Davis had 13.
Rutland led Dale with 12 points, Lindy Nowakowski had eight, Chastain had seven and Elaine Witt finished with six. Rylee Thompson had seven rebounds and two steals, Rutland and Chastain each had five boards and Chastain had two takeaways and a pair of blocks.
It was a rough night form the line for the Lady Pirates, who were 12-22 at the stripe. The Crusaders didn't fair much better, shooting 18-29 on their charity shots.
One thing that really hurt Dale, Forsythe said, was a lack of rebounding. Christian Heritage came up with several offensive boards to get second chance opportunities.
“They had a ton of second chance points because we don't finish the defensive possession by blocking out," he said. "That's something that we've talked about and that's heart and that's hustle and that's want to. And they wanted those boards more than we did. We've got to look at ourselves in the mirror and we've got to figure out something to do to do a better job of rebounding.”
Dale (18-3) will be at Class B No. 3 Varnum Friday.