Late shot gives Vicenza girls D-II title
February 26, 2011
MANNHEIM, Germany — A shot by Vicenza junior Sella Pauling as time expired in overtime gave the Lady Cougars a dramatic 37-36 win over Black Forest Academy in the DODDS Europe girls Division II basketball tournament championship game.
Pauling, who led Vicenza with 16 points, made her buzzer-beating bucket after BFA, up by a point, misssed two foul shots at the other end of the court.
“I wanted the ball,” said Pauling. “We knew what we could do and we did it.”
That wasn’t the only drama for the crowd at Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Arena. Just getting to overtime wasn’t easy for Vicenza.
Trailing 33-25 with just over two minutes left in the game, Vicenza took advantage of a couple of Black Forest Academy fouls to close the gap to five. Then with 1 minute, 10 seconds on the clock, Vicenza sophomore Tatianna Miranda sank a long 3-pointer while drawing a foul.
Miranda, who scored 10 points, hit the foul shot to pull to within one.
“We were telling them over and over don’t foul, we have the lead,” said Lady Falcon coach Pat Woodward.
Pauling hit another basket to put Vicenza up by one, before Esther Shady sank one of two free throws to tie it up at 34 and send the game into OT.
In the extra period, BFA led 36-35 and the Lady Cougars were forced to foul with 8.9 seconds left, setting up the climax.
Vicenza, the sixth seed, controlled much of the first half, keeping the third-seeded Lady Falcons on their heels. The Lady Cougars used a steady dose of full-court defensive pressure, forcing some costly turnovers by BFA and taking a one-point lead at halftime.
The Lady Falcons came out of the locker room determined to get the ball inside to the 6-foot senior Shady, who finished with a team-high 19 points. Shady also had 18 rebounds and four steals.
Applying some defensive pressure themselves, the Lady Falcons held Vicenza to just five points in the third period to go up 24-21.
“I told [the girls] this is the kind of game that we wanted … we felt really good about our defense,” Woodward said of his team, which appeared to be in control midway through the final quarter before Vicenza rallied.
Vicenza coach Michael James Sr. said despite his team’s seeding, he was confident the Lady Cougars could come through under pressure.
“This is our first-ever girls basketball championship for Vicenza,” said James. “We got some bad seeding in the tournament, but I told the girls just don’t worry about it.”
Other leading performers were Vicenza senior Lali Baratashvili - who had 7 points, 10 rebounds, 7 steals and one block - and Black Forest Academy senior Helen Aderholdt, who finished with 8 points and sophomore Natalie Bertrand, who added 8 rebounds and 3 assists.