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Lady Tigers hold on to first with overtime win against Oneida

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By Taylor Crombie

With the top three teams in District 3-A in a tight race for first place, Thursday night’s home game against Oneida was incredibly important for the Sunbright Lady Tigers.

The game went right down to the wire, but the Lady Tigers came out on top 48-44 in overtime thanks to Olivia Northrup.

Northrup bounced back in a big way after collecting three fouls in the first quarter and sitting out the remainder of the first half. She scored seven points for Sunbright in overtime to help the Lady Tigers secure the win.

The Lady Tigers held onto the lead for almost the entire first half, but never had the chance to get comfortable. The Lady Indians forced them to play fast and work for every point, but Sunbright held a 21-14 lead at halftime.

“It was huge that we had the lead at the halftime with her (Northrup) sitting on the bench,” Sunbright head coach Rusty Yaden said.

Even with Northup back in the game for Sunbright in the second half, it was obvious that the Lady Indians were starting to pick up some momentum towards the end of the third quarter. The Lady Tigers had extended their lead to 34-24, but Oneida’s Kendyl West and Emily Bertram made shots at the end of the period to cut Sunbright’s lead down to six points at 34-28.

The Lady Tigers struggled through the fourth quarter, giving up lots of turnovers in the first few minutes and allowing the Lady Indians to take control of the game.

With just three seconds remaining, Jace Lowe made a bucket to tie the game at 38-38 and send it into overtime.

The Lady Indians jumped ahead by four to open the period with a basket from Bertram and a pair of free throws from Harley Boyatt. Abby Byrd put Sunbright’s first points of the frame on the board with two free throws with about two and a half minutes left. Boyatt made another free throw to keep Oneida ahead 43-40.

Northrup tied the game with a minute and a half left with a layup and a free throw, but Bertram made a shot to return the lead to the Lady Indians. Northrup and the Lady Tigers weren’t finished yet, though. She made another clutch shot to tie the game again, the made two more free throws to give Sunbright the lead and ultimately win the game.

Northrup led the Lady Tigers with 15 points, while Makenna Brown also reached double digits with 10 and Lauren Farmer added nine.

While Yaden would have liked to see the Lady Tigers secure the win in regulation, he was glad to see the team recover after the sloppy fourth quarter and get the win anyways.

“Good teams, teams that win championships find ways to win games like that where you struggle,” Yaden said.

With the win, the Lady Tigers will finish with at least the No. 2 seed for the District 3-A tournament, which guarantees a bye until the semifinal round and a spot in the Region tournament.

Oneida (44) Thomas 9, Boyatt 6, Newport 5, Lowe 5, Martin 6, Stiltner 1, Bertram 12.

Sunbright (48) Griffith 3, Farmer 9, Northrup 15, Shannon 6, Byrd 5, Brown 10.