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Falcons advance behind triple overtime thriller

Posted: Friday, Mar 15th, 2013

Centauri senior Taylor Wilson releases the 3-pointer that tied the game at the end of the second overtime period as the buzzer sounded. Wilson scored 20 points in the win. Courier photo by Eric R. Flores

Courier Sports Editor

FT. COLLINS—The Centauri Lady Falcons did just enough to defeat the Machebeuf Bishop Buffaloes in the first round of the Class 3A State Basketball tournament here at Moby Arena on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins on Thursday afternoon.

Just enough ironically was more than anyone could have thought of as the Falcons won 68-67 and needed three overtime periods to get the win. The Falcons move on to face No. 4 seeded St Mary’s who beat No. 12 Kent Denver, 47-34, Friday night at 5:30 p.m.

A 3-pointer by junior Jasmine Gallegos with 35 seconds left in regulation helped erase a 14-point deficit to tie the game at 50 to send the game to overtime. The Falcons entered the quarter down 43-35.

In the overtime period a jumper by senior Taylor Wilson with 1:23 left in overtime gave them their first lead, 53-52, since 4:13 was left in the second quarter. Junior Marissa Quinlan went 1-for-2 at the free throw line with 40 second left and junior Jasmine Gallegos sealed the win with two free throws with 30 second left. The Falcons were able to milk the clock down to the final seconds but no one would have drawn up the magnificent play that found Buffalo senior Lucy Rogers wide up under the net. She was able to dish the ball off the glass and into the net as the buzzer sounded sending the game to a second overtime.

The two teams played strong defense in the second overtime with the Buffaloes getting an upper hand and taking a 61-58 lead with just eight seconds left. As luck would have it Centauri Head Coach Dave Forster drew up the perfect play to find senior Taylor Wilson, who hit six 3-pointers in one of last weekend’s games, wide open for a 3-pointer that bounced around the rim and in to send the game to a third overtime tied at 61.

The Falcons jumped out to a 65-63 lead with 2:40 left in the third overtime period as senior Kathryn Ruybal hit a jumper and Wilson hit two free throws. After two field goals by the Buffaloes to make the score 67-66 it came down to free throws. Wilson hit one of two with 37 seconds left to tie the game at 67 before a missed jumper with 17 seconds gave the ball to Centauri. As junior Tori Fringer was going for a layup she was fouled hard with ten seconds. She was unable to hit the first one and showed some frustration. The final free throw clung around and finally fell through to give them the game winner.

The first quarter started with a quick 3-pointer by Quinlan after more than a minute and a half ticked off. Fringer added a bucket and the Falcons looked like they would control the contest as they led 6-2.

Nobody told the Buffaloes that the Falcons, who entered the tournament with a 21-2 record, were the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Buffaloes came back and tied the game at 6 with 2:21 remaining in the half. That’s when Wilson started on fire as she hit a deep 3-pointer to make the score 9-6. Junior Jasmine Gallegos and Wilson scored four free throws in the final minute to offset two jumpers by the Buffaloes to make the score 13-10, Falcons, at the end of one.

The second quarter is where things took an unforeseen turn for Centauri as they could not sink buckets and committed turnovers that were shocking to Falcon fans. They were outscored 25-8 and trailed 35-21 at halftime. Senior Aisha May, was the Falcon slayer for the Buffaloes as she scored 10 points including seven in a row. This all came after the Wilson scored five straight points to open the quarter and make the score 18-10.

The Falcons, led by Fringer, closed the gap in the third quarter as they trailed by eight, 43-35. Fringer scored eight points in the third quarter while Quinlan hit her second trey and Gallegos went 3-of-4 from the line.

“My heart’s ok, but my hair is gone,” said an already bald Head Coach Dave Forster. “Don’t underestimate the heart of a champion.”

Wilson led all scorers with 20 points while Gallegos and Fringer scored 16. Quinlan scored ten points and Ruybal scored six. As a team the Falcons were 17-of-60 (28.3 percent) from the field and 6-of-21 (28.6 percent) from beyond the arch. They connected on 28-of-43 (65.1 percent) from the free throw line.

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