FORT WAYNE – The sequel seemingly would never end.
Concordia outlasted visiting South Side 64-60 in two overtimes Friday and avenged a loss from the SAC tournament championship game two weeks ago.
The whole game was tough, Concordia senior Courtney Smith said. We really put our hearts in it. That’s what got us the win in the first place. We didn’t stop playing. With that kind of heart, we can go anywhere.
Even the end was extended about 10 minutes trying to get 3.3 seconds put back on the clock. Eventually, Rachel Kammeyer hit 1 of 2 free throws and put the final margin at four points.
We talked about, especially after the first time we played them, that you get tired physically, and it’s really hard to be tough mentally, Concordia coach Dave Miller said. I thought we did better (mentally) tonight. I liked our toughness, and we just kind of hung in there and preserved the whole game.
The Cadets showed a mental and physical grit that was lacking the first time the teams met, a 59-51 Archers win at Wayne on Dec. 28 for their third straight SAC tournament title.
In the SAC tournament finals, we knew we weren’t playing our game, Smith said. We were playing very intimidated and scared. Today, coach Miller instilled in our mind to just take it to them and play our game.
I learned that we can do whatever we put our minds to. Our minds were not in it the first time.
This one kept the Cadets (11-3, 3-0 SAC) in contention for the SAC regular season title, while hurting the Archers (9-5, 1-2) and their bid for a third straight conference crown. Concordia, which hasn’t won the league championship since 2010, has non-tournament wins over two preseason SAC championship contenders in Bishop Luers and South Side.
That put us in a really good position, but we have four (conference) games to play against some really good opponents, Miller said. We will just have to keep getting better.
The Archers fought back from a 48-43 deficit midway through the fourth quarter to tie the score at 51 and send the game into overtime. But South Side missed some key free throws in both overtime sessions to come up short.
We have some work to do, but this loss is definitely going to sting for a little bit, South Side coach Juanita Goodwell said. The way that we lost was tough. There were times we just didn’t compete as five players out there at one time, and they took advantage of that.
Smith and Dejour Young each had 16 points, Shania Kelly had 15 and Erin Adair 10 for the Cadets. South Side got 18 points from Chelsea Rogers, 13 from Lakesha Stephens and 11 each from Maria Moore and Brittni Clopton.
Rogers went off for 23 points last time, and the reason was we gave so much help (in the middle), Miller said. We kept a lot of things the same, but we put an emphasis on making it a little tougher on her.