By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
BOWLING GREEN —
The Lady Indians fell 57-53 to Notre Dame Academy in overtime Thursday in the first round of the Sweet 16 at Diddle Arena.
Madison Central stormed back from a 14-point, third-quarter deficit to take a 40-39 lead with 4:41 left in regulation.
Heather Hinkle got the Lady Indians going with a three pointer which jump-started a 13-0 run for Central.
The lead changed hands three times in the final three minutes, the last time when Larryn Brooks put the Lady Indians on top 49-47 with 28 seconds to go.
The Pandas quickly answered on a basket by Haylee Smith with 19.6 seconds left. Central had one more chance, but a Brooks three at the buzzer fell short.
After Notre Dame took a 51-49 lead to open the overtime, Brooks put Central on top 52-51 with a three pointer.
The two teams traded one free throw each before Carlee Clemons put the Pandas on top for good with a basket with 30 seconds left.
Central had three chances to tie it or take the lead but could not score and each time Notre Dame seemed to come up with the loose ball or the rebound and they hit free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Central coach Robbie Cooksey said he was proud of the way his team battled back and put themselves in a position to where a break or two and they win the ballgame.
"It was one of those games where you hit a free throw, you get an offensive rebound, a 50-50 ball and maybe the outcome is different," Cooksey said. "It (stat sheet) says it was a four-point game, but everybody watching knows it wasn't a four-point game. It was a game that we had a chance to win with about 30 seconds to go and we just weren't able to do it."
Ashton Feldhaus led the Lady Indians with 26 points. She also pulled down 14 rebounds, and it was her hot hand that kept Central within striking distance in the first half.
Feldhaus was 5-of-9 from the floor and 3-of-4 from behind the three-point line in scoring 13 first-half points.
Larryn Brooks had a tough first half, scoring only three points, but came on strong in the second half and finished with 19 points, four assists and five steals.
Hinkle finished with five points with all five coming at times when the Lady Indians really needed baskets. Her three pointer got the Central run going and her layup with 2:30 to go in regulation gave the Lady Indians a 44-43 lead.
Shadae Bosley finished with three points, seven rebounds and one assist.
Cooksey praised his seniors, Feldhaus, Brooks and Hinkle for turning the program around.
"These three right here. We've come from a program that was non-regarded in the 11th Region, to a program that you've got to play us now to beat us. It's because of these three kids here. These kids are tough, they get after it, they work and it's going to be different without them next year."
Central had its chances, Cooksey said, but sometimes things just don't go the way you want them to.
"In the end, it's just like life, sometimes things don't always go your way," Cooksey said. "Something goes a little different we win the basketball game."
After being dominated on the glass early, Central fought back and held its own the rest of the way, only getting out-rebounded 57-53 by the much bigger and stronger Notre Dame players.
Central finished the game shooting 33.3 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from behind the three-point line.
The Lady Indians turned the ball over 17 times in the game to 15 for the Pandas.
Central finishes the year with a 29-5 record.