Loogootee earned its first girls basketball victory of the season, but it didn¹t come easy.
Guard Gabrielle Ritchey scored 25 points as Loogootee defeated Washington Catholic, 39-33, in a Blue Chip Conference game at the Bird Cage Thursday.
Ritchey's 25 was enough to keep the Lions (1-7, 1-2 Blue Chip) in front despite a furious fourth-quarter comeback from the Cardinals (1-8, 1-5).
"We ask Gabby (Ritchie) for all kinds of things as a senior," Loogoootee coach Josh Mullis said. "We ask for leadership, for her to score, for her to play defense, to handle the ball. Gabby never says a word. She got 25 of our 39. She also guarded (Elizabeth) Perkins most of the game. She¹s (Perkins) one of the best players in the area.² The Lions held Washington Catholic for 14:20 of the contest without a field goal. Cardinal Bailey Abel, who finished as Washington Catholic¹s second leading scorer with eight points, made a field goal with 3:15 left in the opening half.
The Cardinals got two free throws in the third quarter from Perkins, who led Washington Catholic in scoring with 10 points despite first half foul problems, but Washington Catholic didn¹t not score from the field until the
4:55 mark of the fourth on a goal from Sarah Wichman.
That dry spell helped the Lions break open a close game through the first half that saw the Cardinals hold a 21-20 lead after Loogootee set the pace, 12-11, after a quarter.
The Lions opened a 34-23 lead with 6:24 remaining before the Cardinals put on a 10-0 run that closed the gap to 34-33 with 57 seconds remaining on a Perkins goal.
Both teams used a variety of presses in the second half, and those defenses proved fruitful.
Loogootee, which was guilty of five consecutive turnovers late in the fourth quarter, was charged with 22 turnovers while Washington Catholic was guilty 18 times.
But it was Ritchey who put her teammates on her back in the final minute.
The Loogootee guard broke through Washington Catholic¹s pressure defense to score a goal with a foul and a free throw with 26 seconds to play. She then converted two final free throws with four seconds remaining to cement the
"No pun intended, but Gabby has the heart of a lion," Mullis said. "She played well. She just carried us."
Bailey Davies added eight points for Loogootee. Emily Bateman scored four.
The Cardinals entered the game injured and ill.
Mary Anne Wichman was missing, recovering from a sprained ankle suffered earlier this week.
Hannah Wild missed the game due to illness, and sister Sarah Wild didn¹t start after reportedly also suffering illness.
Bailey Able scored six of her eight points for Washington Catholic while Perkins was on the bench in the second quarter with two fouls. Kasey Ivy also tossed in eight, including two goals in the final quarter during the attempted comeback.
Washington Catholic coach Michael Hopkins was not available for comment following the game.