Kokomo Red topped Northwestern 43-42 in a double-overtime thriller in the eighth-grade game, keeping Northwestern from a sweep of the City-County girls basketball championships Monday night at Memorial Gym.
Northwestern’s sixth-grade team rolled to a 45-6 win and its seventh-grade team took a 51-24 win.
In the final game of the night, Kokomo Red rallied from an 18-11 halftime deficit to claim the eighth-grade title.
“We talk about fighting to the finish in games all the time, about being tough,” Kokomo coach Bobby Pettigrew said. “The first half, [the Wildkats] just weren’t tough. The second half, they came out a lot tougher. We talk about mental toughness all the time. They proved it [Monday]. They finally grew up.”
Kokomo Red battled back to within one (25-24) by the close of the third quarter. The squads battled through three lead changes and three ties in the fourth quarter. Tevin Deckard gave the Wildkats a 34-33 lead when she scored on a layup with :34 remaining. Northwestern’s Morgan Mercer split a pair of free throws at :15 to knot the score and force the first overtime.
The Tigers went up 38-34 in the first OT, but Sydney Murphy scored a pair of buckets to bring the Kats back and force the second OT.
Savannah Emmons scored inside and Deckard hit two free throws at :28 to put the Kats up 42-38. Northwestern’s Sarah Vas banked in a 3-pointer from the wing at :19.5 to make it a one-point game. After Deckard split a pair of free throws for a 43-41 advantage at :11, Northwestern’s Maci Weeks had a chance to tie the game and force a third OT when she was fouled at the buzzer. She faced the unenviable task of shooting free throws in the face of Kokomo’s rowdy student section and with the lane cleared. She swished her first attempt, but missed her second attempt.