Ward’s buzzer beater lifts Granite over Drummond
PHILIPSBURG – It was everything you’d expect from a Drummond-Granite basketball game and more.
With just 12 ticks on the clock and tied at 49-49, the Lady Prospectors’ Rachel Ward hit a running jump shot as time expired to give Granite a dramatic 51-49 victory Thursday night.
“The plan was to throw a Hail Mary and get a layup inside, but that didn’t work out,” explained Ward of the game’s final play.
“We wanted to see what they were in, but that’s not what they gave us,” said GHS Head Coach Brandon Piazolla. “We got the ball in and Rachel came down and hit a big shot. That was a big shot for Rachel.”
The play developed as Ward brought the ball across half court and fed teammate Lucia Lee at the post. Drummond defenders knocked the ball away and into Ward’s hands in the corner, from where she drove to the hoop to shoot game winner.
Drummond grabbed a lead early in the first quarter, but Granite quickly got back into the game and led all the way until the fourth quarter. Down 10 with under five minutes to go, the Lady Trojans crept within three at the three-minute mark when guard Jesse Struna drained the first of two shots from beyond the arc to tie the game. Her second knotted the score at 49 to set up Ward’s last-second heroics for Granite.
“She came out in that fourth quarter ready to go,” said DHS Head Coach Nate Bignell. “She had her mind set ready to go. We need to play like that all the time.”
The Lady Prospectors had ample opportunity to put Drummond away throughout the game, but shot a dismal 44% (11-of-25) from the free throw line and committing 19 turnovers. Those two factors kept the Lady Trojans in the game until its final moments.
“It just came down to being sloppy,” reflected Piazolla. “Our shooting was sloppy and we missed some opportunities for some put backs. Free throws … we shot a really poor percentage. We did a lot of things right, but we did a lot of things wrong that we’re going to have fix.”
The Lady Trojans’ second half surge came after some changes to how it handled the ball. But Drummond’s Bignell remained optimistic about the team’s season ahead even after two straight losses.
“We had some adjustments we had to go off of, but we had to change our mind set. We just really needed to take care of the ball,” said Bignell. “I wouldn’t call them bad losses. (to Seeley Swan and Granite) We just have to learn from them. We’re right there and I’m excited. We’ve got a good team here.”
Ward’s final bucket gave her 12 points for the night and made game’s high scorer with 12. Freshman Montannah Piar added 11 and Senior Asha Comings 10 for the Lady Prospectors.
Drummond was led by inside players Holly Hauptman and Liz Perry with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Struna was close behind with nine points, all on three-point buckets.
Drummond – 8/10/15/16 – 49
Granite – 20/8/9/14 – 51
Drummond – Williams 5, Hauptman 11, Struna 9, Perry 10, Nelson 6, Parke 6, Wagner 2
Granite – Lee 7, Ward 12, Pitcher 7, Lilyquist 4, Comings 10, Piar 11
Girls Junior Varsity
Granite 38, Drummond 22
A strong start and finish for Granite led to a 16-point win over Drummond.
Kinzey Clark led all scorers in the game with 11 points for the Lady Prospectors, with Chaelyn Cotton, Ramsey Smith and Gretchen Hill each adding seven.
Brooke Hicks led the Lady Trojans with 10 points with Cyleigh Langton and Grace Anderson chipping in four apiece.