McCOOK-In the fourth meeting between North Platte St. Pat's and Hershey, it was only fitting that the two teams went to not one, but two overtimes on Thursday night.
But in a game decided by free throws, St. Pat's outshot Hershey from the line to win the C2-11 subdistrict, 48-43.
The Lady Irish (21-3) will take on Bridgeport in the district finals next week, while Hershey (20-4) will hope to get into the state tournament via the wild card.
Going into Thursday, the Lady Panthers were ranked third in the Class C2 powerpoint standings. Crofton and Hastings St. Cecilia, the two teams in front of Hershey, both won their respective subdistricts on Thursday.
Both teams battled throughout regulation. Hershey led as much as six in the first half before St. Pat's answered back quickly.
"Our goal was to contain (Daynlee) Miller and (Maegan) Hiatt and we did a good job of that," St. Pat's coach Nathan Stienike said. "Maddie Seamann really hurt us in the last game where they beat us at home and we did a better job against her too."
But with one minute left in the fourth quarter, the Irish were in prime position to win after Brook Boucher made a free throw to give them a 30-26 lead.
But on the next possession, Daynlee Miller was fouled driving to the basket and the Hershey senior made both free throws to make it a two-point game.
Boucher was then fouled in the backcourt seconds later but she missed both free throws in the double bonus situation.
That opened the door for the Panthers to tie the game and with 29 seconds, Miller found Brooke Frederick wide open near the basket. Frederick got the layup to tie the game and was fouled by Shelby Allberry trying to stop Frederick. But she couldn't make the ensuing free throw and the game remained tied at 30.
Samantha Byrn missed a three-pointer as time expired and the game headed into overtime.
"At times, we didn't make our free throws," Stienike said. "Our girls were in foul trouble and we didn't have a lot of breaks to catch our breath. They were a little tired and I think that fatigue was a factor in our missed free throws."
In the first overtime, Hershey was the team that had the inside track to win. With 28 seconds left, Daynlee Miller made her second free throw in four straight tries to give the Lady Panthers a 37-33 lead.
But on the following possession, Boucher redeemed herself for her misses at the line in the fourth quarter by making a three-pointer with 17 seconds left.
Maegan Hiatt was fouled five seconds later and like Miller on her last two trips to the charity stripe, she made one of two for a two-point Hershey lead.
The Irish brought the ball up the floor and Allberry attempted a game-winning three with about six seconds left but her shot fell short. The rebound fell to right to Mandy O'Malley. With her back to the basket, the 5-foot-4 senior threw the ball up and after spinning on the rim a couple of times, it went in to send the game into double overtime.
The second overtime lacked the drama of the first. With just over two minutes left, O'Malley made a free throw to give St. Pat's the lead for good at 42-41. Then in what was the last minute, the Lady Irish made six free throws to close it out. The only points the Panthers scored in that time was a basket by Miller as time expired.
"Mandy's last-second behind the head layup was a big boost of momentum for us," said Stienike. "Then in the second overtime, Toni Caudillo got the first basket and its always good to score the first basket in overtime."
Hershey coach Jeremy Thomas commended both his team and St. Pat's for a well-played game.
"It was a heck of a game," he said. "It was just destined for us and St. Pat's to go two overtimes in the fourth time. My hat goes off to St. Pat's. They fought hard. But so did our kids and they deserved to win too. But unfortunately, there could only be one winner and tonight it was St. Pat's."
St. Pat's 5 8 10 7 8 10 - 48
Hershey 11 2 11 6 8 5 - 43
St. Pat's (48)-Anna O'Malley 8, Mandy O'Malley 16, Samantha Byrn 6, Brook Boucher 8, Toni Caudillo 2, Shelby Allberry 8
Hershey (43)-Taylor Mustion 2, Daynlee Miller 22, Brooke Frederick 8, Maegan Hiatt 7, Tayler Baker 2, Maddie Seamann 2
Free Throws: SP 26-40, H 16-27; Three Point Goals: SP 4 (Boucher 2, M. O'Malley, Allberry), H 1 (Frederick)