TIOGA — The Lady Bulldogs used an outside advantage to build a 14-point second-half lead and then an inside one made sure that margin didn’t slip entirely away.
Tioga ended up needing all of those three-pointers from Erica Quintin and then Kelsee Vandagriff’s block at the buzzer allowed the Lady Bulldogs to hold on for a 43-41 victory over the Collinsville Lady Pirates in District 13-2A action.
“It’s a rivalry game so you never know what you’re going to get but we expected it to come down to the wire,” first-year THS head coach Vanessa Wafer said. “It was nail-biting right to the end.”
Quintin made six three-pointers and finished with 22 points, Vandagriff added nine points and 13 rebounds and Blakely Arroyo and Valerie Benke chipped in four points each for Tioga (11-17, 2-4), which starts the second half of district play with the bye before hosting first-place Muenster on Friday.
Madison Ashton had 15 of her 20 points in the fourth quarter, Addisyn McDonnell scored 10 points and Caelyn Scott added four points for Collinsville (8-16, 1-5), which plays at Muenster on Tuesday night.
Tioga is tied with Lindsay in fourth place while Collinsville fell a game behind the pair in the chase for the final playoff spot. The teams were tied for fifth and if not for Vandagriff turning away Scott on a drive after Collinsville inbounded the ball in the frontcourt with 2.5 seconds left, overtime was looming thanks to the Lady Pirates’ furious comeback.
Ashton went 9-of-10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter as Collinsville chipped away at an 11-point deficit to begin the frame that still sat at 10 in the middle stages.
Quintin had a three-pointer with 3:03 left to give Tioga a 40-32 lead which turned out to be the final basket for the Lady Bulldogs, who went scoreless for the next two minutes.
Collinsville made it a one-possession game with 1:53 on the clock and the Lady Pirates forced a turnover with a chance to tie, only to give it right back to Tioga.
Katie Houk made both free throws with 1:02 on the clock but then Ashton connected twice from the line to get the margin back down to three.
Benke hit one free throw at the 41-second mark, Ashton followed with two more points from the line and the Lady Pirates were still alive after Vandagriff missed both free throws with 8.5 seconds left.
A scramble for the rebound left just a couple of seconds remaining when Collinsville pushed the ball up the floor and called a timeout.
Vandagriff redeemed herself with the biggest defensive play of the game to seal the victory.
“If you look at our losses, we have a lot of two-possession losses, maybe four or five points,” Wafer said. “We’ve fallen short in games like this so closing this out was something good to see.”
Quintin hit three three-pointers during the third quarter while Vandagriff converted a three-point play early in the second half and then made a hook shot for a 31-17 advantage with 1:52 left in the stanza for the game’s largest lead.
“(Quintin) usually hits a good handful for us,” Wafer said. “I think we have a good inside-outside game.”
The Lady Pirates managed to make just one shot in the first five-plus minutes of the second half.
It was a carryover from the first half as it took almost four minutes for either team to make a shot in the second quarter — both had single free throws until Scott’s layup with 4:14 remaining until the break.
Arroyo then scored after a steal and those were the only two baskets in the quarter. Both sides made four free throws and Tioga took a 13-9 lead into the locker room.
“We thought our defense was pretty good,” Wafer said. “We felt we got some good-looking shots; we just weren’t hitting them.”
Collinsville managed only a free throw by McDonnell during the game’s first five-and-a-half minutes before Ashton’s steal and layin.
Tioga jumped to a 7-1 lead on a three by Quintin with 5:40 left in the first but the Lady Bulldogs never scored again in the frame and were up 7-3 at the end of quarter.
This article originally appeared on Herald Democrat: Lady Bulldogs hold on against the Lady Pirates in 13-2A action