Another Crawford County battle was just that Monday night in a consolation bracket game of the Little Illini Conference Girls Basketball Tournament at Robinson High School.
Robinson and Oblong committed nearly 50 fouls and combined to shoot as many free throws as there were points scored in a very physical contest for both sides.
The two teams also made more than twice as many free throws (29) than field goals (14) in the game and combined to collect 86 rebounds.
The game was close throughout, with the final score being the largest margin. In the end, Robinson was able to pull away late with some clutch free throw shooting to pick up a 34-25 victory.
"It was a battle," RHS head coach Dave Holubek said. "This was a good team win. Everybody stepped up tonight."
"The effort was there tonight, but we beat ourselves," OHS head coach Tim Johnson said. "We had some chances, but we couldn't take advantage of our opportunities."
The first quarter was a see-saw affair, with the lead changing five times in the first 2:15 of the game. A free throw by Kyndal Mendenhall put RHS on top 1-0, but Kelsie Harper answered for OHS for a 2-1 lead. Kylee Hannahs scored for the Lady Maroons to make the score 3-2, but Harper came right back to hit her second baseline jumper in as many attempts for a 4-3 OHS lead with 6:00 to play. Mendenhall countered with a layup to put RHS back in front, 5-4, with 5:45 left, which started a 5-0 run by the Lady Maroons to end the quarter and give them an 8-4 lead.
Robinson carried the momentum into the second quarter, scoring the first five points on a three-pointer from Mendenhall and free throws from Mickey Shook and Emily Calip to extend the RHS advantage to 13-4 with 5:26 remaining.
Oblong finally stopped the run and a 9:08 scoreless streak on Emily Lockhart's layup at the 4:52 mark. Her basket sparked a 12-1 run by Oblong over the next few minutes, allowing the Lady Panthers to take the lead. After a free throw by Sullivan, Harper hit two free throws and Michaela Manhart drained a three-pointer to make the score 14-11 with 3:25 to play. Kira Meese added a free throw with 2:26 left, then knocked down a jumper from the elbow to even the score at 14-14 with 2:00 remaining. Lockhart followed with two free throws with 1:34 on the clock for a 16-14 lead, before Hannahs made a free throw to close the gap to 16-15 with 1:11 to go. Lockhart added another free throw with 54.7 seconds left for a 17-15 edge, but Calip made two free throws with 29 seconds left to send the game to halftime tied at 17-17.
Both teams were slow out of the gates in the third quarter, but a layup by Lockhart at the 6:10 mark put Oblong in front 19-17, but Calip answered just over a minute later with a driving layup to tie the game at 19-19 with 4:50 to play. Sullivan added two free throws with 4:01 to play to give RHS a 21-19 lead and they would not trail again. Sullivan added two more free throws with 2:23 remaining to complete a 6-0 RHS run and give the Lady Maroons a 23-19 lead, but a basket by Harper with two seconds left made the score 23-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
It became a free throw shooting contest in the fourth quarter, as there were only two field goals made among the 15 points scored in the final period between the two teams.
Sullivan pushed the RHS lead to 25-21 with two free throws with 6:53 left, while Lockhart answered at the 6:40 mark to close the gap to 25-23. Lockhart added a free throw with 4:54 remaining to make the score 25-24, but Emily Keeler made one free throw with 4:37 to play to push the lead back to 26-24. Harper knocked down a free throw at the 4:09 mark to pull OHS within 26-25, but the Lady Panthers would not score again.
Oblong had a chance to retake the lead after Calip missed two free throws with 3:50 left, but Lockhart missed a short jumper. Mendenhall was fouled and went to the line, but she missed both foul shots. However, Sullivan grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled with 3:17 to play. She made both free throws for a 28-25 RHS lead, then the teams traded missed shots before a Hannahs steal gave Robinson the ball back. Hannahs made one free throw with 1:38 left for a 29-25 lead, then she blocked Harper's shot on Oblong's next possession to give the ball back to the Lady Maroons. Mendenhall would make a free throw with 1:08 to play, then added two more with 50.3 seconds remaining after another Oblong miss, making the score 32-25. Mendenhall put the finishing touches on the game with a steal and layup with 10.5 seconds left to provide the final margin.
"It came down to who wanted it more," Holubek said. "Both teams wanted it, but we just did an outstanding job executing at the end and we made enough free throws down the stretch to get the win."
"Robinson is scrappy," Johnson said. "Give them credit, they did what they needed to do to win the game and we didn't."
The biggest difference in the game came at the free throw line, but it wasn't just the free throws shot. Robinson made 21-40 foul shots (53 percent), while Oblong connected on 8-19 attempts from the charity stripe (42 percent). However, just as important was the number of second-chance opportunities the Lady Maroons got on offensive rebounds, many of which came after missed free throws.
"We can't box out at the free throw line and don't take pride in that and that's why we got beat," Johnson said. "We didn't go to the board and gave them too many second-chance points. We also didn't hit our free throws and had too many careless turnovers."
"We could have taken care of business a lot easier if we would have hit our free throws, but I commend coach Johnson," Holubek said. "He did an outstanding job keeping his girls in the game."
Both teams shot poorly from the field and combined for just 14 made baskets. Robinson made just 6-41 shots from the floor (15 percent), including 5-32 from two-point range (16 percent) and 1-9 from three-point range (11 percent), while Oblong connected on 8-37 field goal attempts (22 percent), which included 7-30 from inside the arc (23 percent) and 1-7 from long distance (14 percent).
"I knew coming in our defense was going to show up like they did against Lawrenceville," Holubek said. "We buckled down, especially in the third and fourth quarters and that was the difference."
"Offensively, we did some things we wanted to. They couldn't stop us underneath, but we couldn't finish down there either," Johnson said. "Defensively, the fouls and not boxing out killed us."
Mendenhall led RHS with 11 points, nine rebounds and one steal, while Sullivan posted nine points, 12 rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot. Hannahs totaled seven points, 12 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots, Calip contributed five points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists, Shook netted one point, three rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot and Keeler added one point and two rebounds.
Lockhart led OHS with 10 points, 13 rebounds, two blocked shots and one assist, while Harper totaled nine points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot, Meese posted three points, eight rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot and Manhart tossed in three points.
In other LIC consolation bracket action Monday, Palestine-Hutsonville hammered Edwards County 55-28, Casey-Westfield rolled past Cumberland 59-32 and Red Hill beat Lawrenceville 51-20.
Robinson (5-10) advances to play Palestine-Hutsonville in the semifinals of the consolation bracket of the LIC Tournament at Cumberland Wednesday at 6 p.m.
"We have another redemption game Wednesday," Holubek said. "Our goal is to make it to the consolation championship and I like our chances, but we will have to work extra hard to get that done. We'll show up Wednesday, try to take it to them and play the best we can."
Oblong (4-15) is eliminated from tournament play. The Lady Panthers will resume regular-season play when they host Edwards County Monday at 6:15 p.m.
"I asked the girls how they wanted to go out this season," Johnson said. "We've got four games left, so hopefully we will have a better week of practice and try to finish strong."
Next game - Robinson (5-10) will play Palestine-Hutsonville in the semifinals of the consolation bracket of the LIC Tournament at Cumberland Wednesday at 6 p.m.; Oblong (4-15) will play host to Edwards County Monday at 6:15 p.m.