ALTAMONT, Kan. -- Every coach will stress the importance of free throws. In a game such as this Friday night, free throws made a huge difference in the outcome of this Southeast Kansas League game at Harrison Gymnasium.
Fort Scott High's girls made just 7 of 21 free throws on the night and went just 1 for 7 in overtime. Labette County's 10-of-14 performance at the charity stripe, meanwhile, was one of the major reasons the homestanding Grizzlies took a 44-42 victory.
The Tigers (0-1 SEK, 0-4 overall) are shooting about 50 percent at the charity stripe this season, Friday's game included. Meanwhile, their opposition is not only making about 72 percent of its free throws, but they've also made as many free throws this season (71) as Fort Scott has attempted (76).
Still, the Tigers were in this game all the way and still had a chance to at least force a second overtime. They led 14-10 after one quarter with Labette County (1-0, 1-1) managing to stay close only because senior Michaela O'Brien scored 8 of the Grizzlies' points.
O'Brien tied the score at 20-20 with less than two minutes remaining in the half. Aubrey Kimbrough put LCHS ahead with a pair of free throws.
Fort Scott claimed a 23-22 halftime lead when Brianne Lawrence scored a layup with 14 seconds on the clock. Katren Rienbolt expanded that lead very quickly to start the third stanza, hitting a 3-point shot followed by a 2-pointer.
Labette County tied the score at 30-30 with 12.9 seconds left in the quarter on a 3-point shot by Gardner off a Tiger turnover. Jillian Lattimer put Fort Scott ahead again by scoring a layup at the buzzer.
Lawrence gave the Tigers what turned out to be their final lead in regulation with 2:36 to go, her layup making it 36-35. Kimbrough took a steal in for a layup and O'Brien hit a bucket to put LCHS up three.
Rienbolt scored a layup with just over a minute remaining. Maddi Cook made the first of two free throws with 9.1 seconds left to tie the score at 39-39 but was unable to make the second. O'Brien got the rebound but was unable to get a good shot away before the buzzer.
Maddi Allen made one of two free throws for Fort Scott with 3:25 to go. O'Brien gave the Grizzlies the lead for good when she made two free shots with 2:25 to go. Kimbrough pushed the lead to 43-40 with a layup.
Sidney Maycumber brought Fort Scott within one on a layup with 23 seconds left. The Tigers fouled Gardner, who made one of two freebies with 13.8 seconds to go.
Fort Scott went to the line with 6.2 seconds to go as Lawrence was fouled on a rebound. But she missed both free throws. O'Brien got the rebound but Rienbolt forced a jump ball with the possession arrow going the Tigers' way with 4.4 seconds left. A tying shot missed at the buzzer.
O'Brien finished with 19 points for Labette County while Holliegh Sorrell followed with 8. Rienbolt led Fort Scott with 15 points while Lawrence finished with 8.
The Tigers have a week off before hosting Coffeyville in SEK play next Friday at the FSHS gymnasium.
FORT SCOTT: Tourtillott 0 0-0 0, Shoemaker 0 0-0 0, Allen 1 1-2 3, Sh.Maycumber 0 0-0 0, Rienbolt 5 4-4 15, Cook 2 1-4 7, Si.Maycumber 2 0-3 4, Lawrence 4 0-4 8, Lattimer 2 1-4 5. TOTALS: 16-48 7-21 42.
LABETTE COUNTY: O'Brien 7 5-8 19, Rakestraw 1 0-0 2, Albertson 0 0-0 0, Kimbrough 2 2-2 6, Gardner 2 1-2 7, Sorrell 3 2-2 8, Green 1 0-0 2, Stevenson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16-37 10-14 44.
Fort Scott....... 14 9 9 7 3 -- 42
Labette County.. 10 12 8 9 5 -- 44
Three-point field goals: Fort Scott 3-13 (Cook 2, Rienbolt), Labette County 2-7 (Gardner 2).
Total fouls: Fort Scott 17, Labette County 19. Fouled out: Green, Stevenson. Technical fouls: None.