Sandpoint and St. Maries needed extra time to sort out a defensive struggle, yet the visiting Lumberjacks prevailed in a 40-36 non-league game.
“St. Maries played pretty well and we had a hard time in the first half,” Sandpoint head coach Will Love said. “We got a lot of good looks, but the shots weren’t falling for us tonight.”
Although the Bulldogs fell prey to another slow start in a season of slow starts, St. Maries was having trouble generating offense of its own early on. Both teams shot 5-17 from the field in the first quarter, which set the tone for the rest of the game.
“In the first half we did an okay job of rebounding, so that kept us in it,” Love said. “But I think it was tough for us to come back after that slow start.”
By the time the dust settled in the first half, St. Maries only held a slim 13-8 edge over the Bulldogs.
Yet in the third quarter, it appeared that Maddie Morgan would have her second-consecutive breakout performance in the second half; Morgan hit several threes in the second half of Saturday’s game against Moscow, and she did the same against St. Maries.
The drama ramped up in the fourth quarter as Sandpoint chipped away at St. Maries lead, while the Lumberjacks couldn’t take advantage of being in the bonus.
The Lumberjacks went 5-15 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, which opened the door for the Bulldogs. A Dawson Driggs three-pointer gave the Bulldogs the lead for the first time since 7:20 mark of the first quarter.
The celebration was short-lived.
St. Maries senior Kaci Haeg drew contact underneath, sending Driggs to the bench with her fifth foul with 1:27 to play.
Haeg missed both of the ensuing free throws, setting up another opportunity for the Bulldogs to take the lead.
For a while, it looked like Sandpoint would do exactly that: The Bulldogs swung the ball around, stretched St. Maries defense and managed to lop off 30 seconds off the clock. Despite getting the look they wanted to, Hattie Larson’s missed shot fell in the arms of a Lumberjack, forcing the game back on the Bulldog defense’s shoulders.
Timeout, St. Maries.
Once again, the Lumberjacks tried drawing a few whistles from the officials, but this time they didn’t oblige. Madison Cordell found Kaci Haeg, who missed a right-handed layup she made all night. Izzo Edwards picked an ideal time to gather her lone rebound of the night, yet several St. Maries players forced a jump ball.
With the possession arrow pointing the Lumberjacks’ way, Sandpoint had to use yet another defensive stop to force overtime. On-ball defense from Morgan and Edwards sealed the deal, which fired up the former heading into overtime.
But foul trouble caught up with the Bulldogs in overtime. Aly Lish picked up her fifth foul in the extra period, and St. Maries finally hit their free throws. The Lumberjacks outscored Sandpoint 9-5 in overtime, keeping the Bulldogs at bay.
Morgan and Larson led the way with 11 points; Morgan scored all of her points in the second half, while Larson grabbed a team-high five rebounds.
Sandpoint dropped to 3-11 with the loss, and has arguably its biggest game of the season on Friday against league-rival Lakeland.
Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
St. Maries 6 7 12 6 9 — 40
Sandpoint 5 3 12 11 5 — 36
ST. MARIES — Haeg 22, Cordell 7, Badgett 2, Holder 4, Hammond 2, Suchoski 2, Crawford 1, Wilks 0,
SANDPOINT — Driggs 7, Morgan 11, Edwards 0, Larson 11, Petit 2, Lish 0, Banks 3, Steiger 2, Phillips 0, Anderson 0.