The South Decatur girls basketball team scored 28 points in the first three quarters of play against Oldenburg Academy in the Jac-Cen-Del Sectional 60 tournament Tuesday.
However, the Lady Cougars scored 29 points in the fourth quarter alone - which would translate to a win in most cases.
Unfortunately, South’s season ended 66-57 at the hands of Oldenburg Academy despite the ferocious comeback. South had trailed 45-28 heading into the final eight minutes before scoring the first 12 points of the fourth quarter.
The lead changed twice in the first quarter, with South leading the first four minutes of the game. Sophomore Megan Niese began the scoring with a jumpshot, and junior Courtney Billingsley put in a rebound basket to make it 4-0.
Juniors Cora Wesenbach and 6-foot-2 Rachel Fairfield, though, each scored to put OA up front 7-6. A Niese basket was sandwiched between a pair of coast-to-coast layups by OA sophomore Kirsten Ricke, who seemingly matched Niese score-for-score.
Niese ended the first quarter with a basket, cutting OA’s lead to 11-10. Ricke, though, started the second period with a score. Niese’s free throws shrank it back down to one. Billingsley answered again with a jumper to give South its final lead of the game, 14-13, with 5:43 left in the half.
South Senior Sam Miller stopped a 4-0 mini-run by OA, but the Twisters went on an 8-1 run until a Niese triple ended the first half at 25-20.
OA’s 20-8 third-quarter advantage put South down 45-28.
The Lady Cougars returned for the final eight minutes with a different approach. South scored the first 12 points of the fourth, sparked by consecutive buckets from Niese and junior Ashley Johannigman. Senior Sam Miller then scored four quick points, and Billingsley made it 45-40 inside the six-minute mark.
OA did not score its first points until the 5:34 mark. Ricke’s jumper made it 47-40, but junior Julia Miller’s 3-point play later made it 48-46 OA with 4:35 left in the third.
South called a timeout after Niese hit a 3-ball at the 2:20 mark, trailing just 55-53. However, Ricke’s triple and a coast-to-coast score off a steal swelled the margin to seven at 60-53. The 10-1 OA run was too much to overcome for South, as a trey by Johannigman was the Cougars’ final score.
South finishes the season at 6-15, while OA rises to 11-10.
Niese scored a career-high 27 points, which also led all scorers. Sam Miller followed with 11, while junior Julia Miller scored seven. Billingsley added six and Johannigman tallied five. Sophomore Olivia Watkins chipped in a free throw.
“Megan did a good job,” said South head coach Amy Macy on WTRE radio afterward. “We don’t care who scores. Everyone stepped up. We just did it a little too late tonight.”
Ricke led OA with 23 points, including several on the fast-break. Sophomore Ella Lamping followed with 18, while Weisenbach scored 14.
Other OA scoring (unofficial): Sarah Gutman 5, Rachel Fairfield 4, Briana Tindall 2.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.