By MICHAEL BURWELL
NEW WASHINGTON — Jenna Karl’s 3-point attempt in the final seconds wasn’t exactly what Buckeye Central coach Greg Moore had drawn up.
But it gave the Buckettes new life, and they took advantage.
Karl buried a 3-pointer from 10 feet behind the arc with three seconds left to tie Buckeye Central’s game against Carey at 43-43. The Buckettes used a quick start in the extra session to outlast the Blue Devils 55-51 on Tuesday in a battle of the top two Northern 10 Conference girls basketball teams.
“Jenna just took it upon herself,” Moore said, “and that’s what a senior all-Ohio player does, says ‘hey, I’m going to put it on my shoulders and if I make it, we’re going to go to overtime and if we don’t, we’re going to go to 16-2,’ which is a good record, but I like being 17-1 right now a lot better.”
Buckeye Central won its 10th-straight game and avenged its only loss of the season to improve to 17-1 overall and 11-1 in the N10.
The loss snapped a 12-game winning streak for Carey (16-2, 10-2), which beat Buckeye Central 51-50 on Dec. 27.
Buckeye Central junior Courtney Pifher scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Buckettes, while Karl, a senior guard, totaled 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Destiny DeFeo scored 17 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead Carey. Sydney Kin, a 6-foot-2 senior, had 13 points and seven rebounds, but was saddled with foul trouble throughout the game and fouled out with 1:25 left in overtime.
Carey started the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 40-37 lead with 3:56 left, and Amber Nash found Kin for an easy two in the lane on a pick-and-roll with 1:18 left to give the Blue Devils a 42-40 lead.
DeFeo made 1 of 2 free throws with 26 seconds left to extend Carey’s lead to three.
That’s when Karl’s prayer was answered.
After some miscommunication from Buckeye Central on its set play in the final 12 seconds, Karl decided to fire a shot from well beyond the arc.
It hit nothing but net.
“Jenna hits that shot at the end and that’s two Karls I’ve had hit a shot for the buzzer like that,” Moore said. “Her sister, Brooke, did it over at Ontario in a sectional championship about the same spot on the floor, so it must be hereditary.”
Buckeye Central opened its overtime scoring in a hurry as Lexi Evak won the opening tip and three seconds later, Pifher scored in the paint, was fouled and completed a 3-point play to give the Buckettes the early lead.
“Coming out in that overtime, she was determined to get that tip. We run a tip play and we score that and that was huge,” Moore said. “That was a three-point play and that’s all on her.”
“I think the girls were ready to go out, we gave up the easy bucket in the overtime, but we came right back, had plenty of opportunities ourselves so we just didn’t take advantage and they did,” Carey coach Phil Vaughn said.
Carey, though, responded with a Nash 3-pointer. Kin’s two free throws with 2:11 left tied the game at 48-48, and DeFeo’s 3-pointer with 52 seconds left pulled Carey to within 52-51.
But Buckeye Central made numerous plays down the stretch to maintain the lead. Freshman Kyleigh Brown had a steal on a Carey inbounds play with just over a minute left, was fouled and made both free throws to extend the Buckettes’ lead to 52-48 with 1:17 left.
Buckeye Central made 6 of 8 free throws in overtime to notch the win. The Buckettes were 15 of 19 overall from the line.
Buckeye Central finished the first quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 16-10 lead, and Karl found Evak for two in the paint with three seconds left in the second quarter to extend the Buckettes’ lead to 23-18. Buckeye Central also finished the third quarter on a 7-0 run.
“End of the quarters; we work on that,” Moore said. “We know where we want the ball, either in Courtney’s hands or Jenna’s hands and they’re going to get us good looks. We got some set plays we run in those situations, and they run it pretty well for a young group.”
Taylor Ratliff added eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, for Buckeye Central. Sydney Ferguson added nine points and Nash scored eight for the Blue Devils.
Although Carey fell behind a game for first place in the N10 standings, Vaughn said he expects his team to bounce back.
“We got to walk out of the locker room and think about Colonel Crawford, that’s just the way it is,” Vaughn said. “There’s no doubt about it, you have to keep playing.
“If you keep your head down for too long, it’s going to stay down so I think they’ll respond and we’ll be back ready to go on Thursday.”
CAREY (16-2, 10-2 N10)
DeFeo 6-1–17, Kin 4-5–13, Ferguson 4-0–9, Nash 1-5–8, Curlis 2-0–4, Lonsway 0-0–0, Arend 0-0–0, Wenzinger 0-0–0, Worst 0-0–0. TOTALS: 17-40 11-18 — 51.
BUCKEYE CENTRAL (17-1, 11-1 N10)
Pifher 7-2–17, Karl 3-8–15, Ratliff 3-0–8, Evak 3-0–6, Stump 1-3–5, Brown 1-2–4, Heydinger 0-0–0. TOTALS: 18-44 15-19 — 51.
Carey 10 8 14 11 8 — 51
Buckeye Central 16 7 14 6 12 — 55
3-Point GOALS: Carey 6-15 (DeFeo 4, Ferguson & Nash 1); Buckeye Central 4-9 (Ratliff 2, Karl & Pifher 1).
rebounds: Carey 27 (Kin 7); Buckeye Central 29 (Karl 10).
turnovers: Carey 13, Buckeye Central 14.
junior varsity: Carey, 35-23.
By MICHAEL BURWELL