In their first home contest in almost two weeks, the women’s basketball Trailblazers were back in action on their own hardwood Friday November 22, hosting the Blackhawks from Southeastern Community College out of West Burlington, Iowa. The two-game road stint for coach Jaron Young’s Trailblazer team didn’t necessarily go as they would have liked, dropping both games by large margins.
L&C is looking to find the form they had against SWIC, where they won by a convincing 91-66 scoreline. Missing from that game was L&C guard Miata Borders, who was in street clothes watching from the stands. At times, it looked like the Trailblazer offense could have used her creativity, struggling to force the issue on the offensive side of the floor.
The first half was one that the home team would like to put behind them, falling behind and trailing by double digits at halftime. Southeastern’s Shaniya Caldwell led the way for the visitors, often slashing through the L&C defense and creating scoring opportunities for her team. The Blackhawks only brought nine players to Godfrey for this encounter, so Caldwell had plenty of minutes to influence the pace of the game.
Perhaps with fatigue becoming a factor for the outnumbered Blackhawks, L&C played their best basketball in the fourth quarter, closing the gap between them and the visitors behind the shooting of Mary Penland-Holmes. The Trailblazer defense woke up once they implemented the full-court press, forcing Southeastern to make more risks with passes up the court. Those risks turned to turnovers, those turnovers turned to points, and suddenly, the double-digit Blackhawk lead had dwindled down to just three, with seconds remaining.
In late game situations where every movement, every shot counts, you can’t fault a team for wanting to find their hot hand. Desperate to get the ball to Penland-Holmes, who kept the Trailblazers alive all game, a hurried L&C pass found her hands well outside the three point line. Without a moment’s hesitation, Penland-Holmes took a step up, closer to the line, and drained a three-pointer at the regulation buzzer. Overtime was needed, both teams deadlocked at 73 after forty minutes of basketball.
The first overtime saw the Trailblazers capture their first lead since the opening quarter, and they looked to be pulling away in the first overtime period. It was only the well-drilled and clinical play of Southeastern that kept them alive, with momentum thoroughly behind the home team at this point. The visitors stayed calm, executed their full court offense, and deadlocked the game at 80, forcing a second overtime.
The shorthanded Blackhawks gave L&C everything they could handle, but simply looked to be out of gas on the defensive end, playing fifty minutes of basketball with limited numbers. L&C found it easier to work inside down the stretch, and ultimately, the winning basket for Lewis and Clark came on a drive in the lane with fifteen seconds remaining in the second overtime. The final score 89-87.
After surviving this thriller, coach Jaron Young and the women’s basketball Trailblazers look to carry this momentum into the rest of the young season as they host Missouri Baptist’s JV squad on November 25. For more information on women’s basketball and all Trailblazer sports, visit LC.edu/Athletics.