It was sloppy, but the Panthers pulled it out. In a game riddled with turnovers, missed opportunities, and a lot of missed free throws, Oswego (5-4, 2-1) hung tough, and defeated their crosstown rival Oswego East (3-5, 2-1) 58-52 in double overtime on tuesday night.
The game had the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. Nobody rode that rollercoaster more than Oswego senior Jennah Rogers who scored 16 points and snagged 17 rebounds. She had an opportunity to win the game in regulation but was unable to convert, but eventually played hero and sent the game to double overtime with a putback buzzer beater.
“I’m shocked,” Rogers said when she heard her stat line.
The Panthers led by as much as ten. However, the Wolves widdled it down to two before the Panthers put it back up to four with 5:46 to go in the fourth quarter. Then came the foul fest. OE, led by a balanced attack in the fourth, continued to chip away at the Panther lead. As the Panthers continued to struggle at the line, the Wolves closed the gap to one with just under 1:30 to play.
Oswego senior Jenelle Rogers, who finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds went to rim and grabbed a rebound of a missed shot, and nailed the putback while getting fouled, putting her on the line with an opportunity to make it a two possession game. But, she missed the free throw, and with the score at 42-39.
At this point, the Wolves had two double digit scorers: senior Christine Corpuz with 12 points, and junior Lauren Shea with 11, however she hadn’t scored early in the third, and hadn’t hit a field goal since the first quarter. So, with those two players drawing all of the Panthers’s attention, the Wolves turned to an unlikely hero.
Corpuz, after dribbling around the perimeter and finding herself trapped in the right corner, gave it to senior Caroline Engelhardt, who heaved up a three from well behind the three point line, and it hit to tie the game at 42 a piece. Nothing but net. The first and only three of the game for the Wolves couldn’t have come at a better time.
“She was open she took a great shot,” Panthers head coach John Carlson said. “She made the play for her team and we didn’t cover it well.”
With 6.6 left on the clock, the Panthers looked to inbound from under their own basket, needing to go the length of the floor, Carlson drew up a play that gave the Panthers a really good look at point blank for the win. After the inbounds pass that went near half court, freshman Mia Moore sent it up court to Jennah, who had an uncontested layup and missed. But the miss was corralled by Jenelle who went up for a putback, but she too was unable to convert as the buzzer sounded and the game went into overtime.
“I was just thinking don’t miss it,” Jennah said.
Starting the first overtime, East jumped out to a four point lead, but Jennelle pulled it to two with a layup with 14.4 on the clock. On the ensuing possession, the Wolves took the ball down court and were fouled by the Panthers.
The Wolves missed both free throws, and the Panthers still had a pulse, down 48-46 with ten seconds on the clock.
Moore drove to the basket and had her shot blocked. The rebound went to senior Angelina Schlinger, who had her putback attempt tipped. Jennah then grabbed the loose ball and powered it up into the basket to tie the game up at the buzzer.
“Don’t turnover the ball,” Jennah remembered thinking as she grabbed the crucial rebound.
The second overtime was dominated by the Panthers, who pulled away to win 58-52, thanks to clutch free throws from Schlinger and Moore.
Despite the struggles at the free throw line (16/37, 43.2%), the Panthers persevered; they made them when they counted most. However, Carlson knows they have to do better going forward.
“That’s an area that’s been hurting us,” Carlson said. “That’s something we can practice and get better at.”
Jennah’s big night was something long in the making.
“We’ve been looking for her to up her scoring a bit,” Carlson said. “The boards have been there all year.”