GREENFORD - It doesn't matter when you are leading, as long as you are leading when the final buzzer goes off.
That is exactly what the Lisbon girls did Saturday in their 27-25 overtime victory against Jackson-Milton in a Division IV sectional final at South Range High School.
With the Blue Devils trailing 25-22 and only 15 seconds remaining, they needed a clutch three-point shot to try to send the contest into overtime. Lisbon senior Katy Crimson answered the call.
The Devils inbounded the ball to Pam Pierce. Pierce's three-point shot from the right side of the arc rattled around and kicked off the rim to sophomore Tiffany Ketchum, who quickly passed out to Crimson on the left side. Crimson set her feet and fired away. She buried the shot as pandemonium ensured with the Devils fans and players as Crimson jumped into the arms of her coach, Jason Thompson.
"I wasn't thinking much at the time," Crismon said. "I knew we needed the three to tie the game up.
"We ran the play for Pam to try and get that shot, and when it went in and out I just located behind the arc and I was like I'm just going to have to be the one to shoot it. Luckily. Tiffany got me the ball and it went in."
J-MILTON: 8-3-7- 7-0-25
LISBON SCORING: Tiffany Ketchum 2-4-8, Sarah Boyd 0-1-1, Katey Crismon 1-5-8, Pam Pierce 2-2-6, Taylor Siefke 1-0-2, Hannah Prasco 1-0-2, Jeanna Dickson 0-0-0. TOTALS: 7, 12-20: 27.
JACKSON-MILTON SCORING: Rebecca Jones 1-0-2, Zaina Sahli 2-0-4, Paije Kiraly 4-1-9, Maggie Oblinger 0-3-3, Madison Tomaino 2-3-7, Brittany Schnellbach 0-0-0, Gabrielle Tharp 0-0-0. TOTALS: 9, 7-11: 25.
Three-pointers: Lisbon 1 (Crismon), Jackson-Milton 0.
"I got to hand it to my girls," Thompson said. "We have talked about situations. We talked about it at the timeout that we needed a three. We missed the first one and had the sense to tip it out and Katy got another one."
But the Devils still had work to do even though they had the momentum going into the extra session. The Bluejays held the ball for most of the overtime, passing around the court, looking for a shot.
But with the clock ticking down, Ketchum intercepted a pass and dribbled down court, pulled back, and then decided to drive to the hoop. She hit a layup with only 11 seconds remaining, giving the Devils their first lead of the game and the only points in overtime. The Bluejays attempted a long shot at the buzzer, but it was off the mark.
"It was either that or get a foul, I had to do what's best," Ketchum said. "I didn't want to let my seniors down so I wanted to give it my all."
"It was an offensive struggle, neither team could get going offensively, and defensively both teams were prepared," Thompson said. "They're well coached, and lucky for us we just got the last bucket."
"They got the ball in when they needed it to, and when you lose by two points in overtime it's hard to take," Jackson-Milton coach Pat Keney said. "We had our opportunities and they just didn't fall in for us."
The Bluejays played the entire game at a slow and steady pace as they set up each shot. They held a 8-4 first-quarter lead and led 11-9 at halftime. Their biggest advantage was five points just a minute into the fourth quarter.
"I just got two kids back Thursday night, one that had a concussion and one out all week with the flu, so they were not at 100 percent," Keney said. "They weren't conditioned to running up and down the floor, so we did the best we could do.
"I think at some points of the game it was a little frustrating because we like to get out and try to run transition," Crismon said. "They were doing a good job of slowing us down, and having to set up offense was a little difficult at times, but I think we handled it toward the end."
Lisbon lost both regular-season games against Jackson-Milton, by nine- and three-point margins.
"The thing that really threw us off was expecting him (Keney) to do the same thing he did the first two games which was a zone, and he came out in a man which is kudos to him because I was not expecting that," Thompson said "You know that's my fault, but the kids reacted at least good enough to get us there."
Ketchum and Crimson would shared scoring honors for the Devils with eight points. Pierce added six points.
Lisbon improves to 14-10 and will play Columbiana in the district semifinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Lisbon dropped a 47-35 decision to Columbiana in the second game of the season.
Jackson-Milton finished the season at 15-7. Paije Kiraly topped the Bluejays with nine points and Madison Tomaino had seven.