ELKO – What. A. Ballgame.
The Elko girls basketball team had to summon everything it had deep inside the hearts of the Lady Indians to overcome the determination and fight of a Spring Creek comeback Tuesday night at Centennial Gymnasium.
After building several considerable leads, the Lady Indians saw the advantage go to the Lady Spartans in a heavyweight prize fight – each club getting off the floor after trading tremendous haymakers for more than 32 minutes – yes more.
Elko hung on for a 63-56 victory in overtime.
Senior Sariah Pulley gave the Lady Indians a 2-0 lead immediately after the opening tip, scoring along the right block.
The Lady Spartans responded with a bucket on the opposite right block with a jump hook from junior Caitlyn Dimick.
Elko took a major hit when senior Lauryn Drake’s head hit the floor when going for an offensive rebound at the 7:19 mark.
The Lady Indians took a 4-2 lead on a pull-up jumper from the right wing by senior Gabe Rowley, but Dimick made a free throw on the other end.
Elko was aggressive on defense and blocked multiple shots, also getting their hands on a lot of passes – Spring Creek struggling on offense.
Junior Alexis Elquist knocked down a baseline jumper on an assist from Rowley for a 6-3 lead, but Spring Creek junior Jasmine Yadeskie made two free throws.
Pulley scored on a strong move after a Spring Creek turnover and assist from Rowley, who gave the Lady Indians a 10-5 advantage after a steal from junior Brenna Hendrix.
Senior Teagan Ashby cut the lead to four with a free throw.
Elko was forcing the issue defensively, but the Lady Spartans were drawing a significant number of fouls.
Hendrix scored with her left hand on the left block from a feed from Rowley, Spring Creek senior Kaitlyn McLeod knocking down a free throw after jumping a passing lane and making a steal.
Elko senior Lexi Baum dropped a left-handed layup on a post-entry pass from sophomore Katie Ross.
The final points of the first came on a strong drive by Yadeskie, fighting through traffic and freeing herself for a good look at the backboard on the right block.
Elko led 14-9 after the first.
Baum opened the second quarter with a freebie, but Spring Creek junior Shaylynn Yaunick made a tough finish with the foul from the left and completed the three-point play from the stripe.
The Lady Spartans went to the single-bonus with six minutes remaining in the first half, Dimick cutting the deficit to one with a pair of free throws.
Spring Creek’s defense picked up the pressure and turned the tables on the Lady Indians for an extended stretch of possessions, each team struggling to score.
Ross stopped the drought with a corner three from the right side, and Elquist cashed a triple from the left wing for a 21-14 lead.
The Lady Spartans made a run, started by the person who ignited the beginning of the period – Yaunick.
She got an Elko defender in the air, waited and drew contact – finishing a circus shot with the contact.
The free throw cut the lead to four.
Junior Alayna Grosz made a free throw and trimmed the advantage to three, Baum sinking a freebie on the other end.
Yaunick packed Spring Creek, scoring her eighth point of the period with a long-two from the right wing.
Two free throws by freshman Kylee Dimick brought the Lady Spartans back and tied the game with 57 seconds remaining in the half.
Elko closed the half on a 5-0 run of its own, beginning with a muscle play by Rowley.
She grabbed an offensive board, was hit in the face, drove through contact and finished against another bump – sinking the free throw after the And-1.
Baum closed the half with a bucket on the left side in transition on a look-ahead from Rowley.
At the break, Elko led 27-22.
Caitlyn Dimick went back to Spring Creek’s bread and butter, scoring two points from the line to start the third quarter.
Rowley continued to spark the Lady Indians, drilling a three from the left wing.
She then finished her second And-1 of the game, sinking the free throw.
Caitlyn Dimick neared double figures with a deuce, giving her nine points.
Rowley swapped the floor with a deuce on the other end, but Yadeskie worked free on the left block for the Lady Spartans.
Baum added a free throw, matched by a freebie by McLeod.
Elko’s seven-point advantage grew to 10 on a deep three by Rowley from the right wing that rattled out and went back in – giving her 18 points in the ballgame and the Lady Indians a 39-29 lead.
Caitlyn Dimick made a free throw for her eighth point of the ballgame.
Elko turned the ball over on its next possession but effectively chewed up 1:20 off the clock.
The Lady Indians got out on the break and missed a wide-open bunny to close the third period.
Entering the fourth quarter, Elko led by nine at 39-30.
Spring Creek forced the post to start the fourth, Caitlyn Dimick making a free throw.
Rowley worked free around a screen and dropped a baseline jumper, matched by a baseline J from Kylee Dimick for the Lady Spartans.
Caitlyn Dimick set up in deep position and locked off her defender for a finish with the left hand on the block, cutting the lead to five.
The Lady Indians went back up on a pair of free throws by Rowley, giving her 22 points for the game.
Kylee Dimick cut the lead to five with six minutes remaining with two free throws, slicing the lead to three with a steak and a layup.
Elko finally reached the single-bonus with 5:32 on the clock, Hendrix both shots on the 1-and-1.
Caitlyn Dimick dropped the lead back to two with two free throws, and Elko turned the ball over.
McLeod hit Caitlyn Dimick for a wide-open layup on an inbound pass, trimming the lead to one at 45-44 with five minutes remaining.
The Lady Indians turned back to the team that has gotten them in trouble, tight and cautious.
Caitlyn Dimick gave the Lady Spartans a 46-45 lead with another pair of free throws with 4:40 on the clock, and Elko missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
The squads traded turnovers with four minutes remaining.
Hendrix came up with a big drive along the left baseline for a layup, regaining the lead for Elko.
Elquist worked free on an inbound play and smoked a three from the left wing, immediately changed to a long two.
Grosz made a dribble to middle of the paint and dropped a runner for the Lady Spartans with 2:34 remaining, Elko up 49-48.
Pulley put the Lady Indians back up three with a pair of free throws.
Hendrix was fouled on a full-court pass from Elquist and made one free throw, but Yaunick reached double figures with a layup for the Lady Spartans.
Yadeskie – one of the smallest players on the floor – grabbed an offensive board from a missed three and tied the game with a money put-back with one minute remaining, 52-all.
The final minute of regulation provided everything: missed shots, turnovers, offensive boards, steals, bodies on the floor, a double-dribble and a game-winner that came after the buzzer – McLeod making a steal and finding Yadeskie a half-second too late.
Baum grabbed her own miss to start the extra frame, sinking two free throws.
Caitlyn Dimick owned the right block all night, notching her 21st point of the game – tying the contest at 54-all.
Rowley came up clutch at the stripe, notching her 23rd and 24th points for a two-point lead.
Baum drove the baseline hard and drew a foul, making one free throw.
Yaunick scored her 12th point on a great look from McLeod, trimming the lead to one with 1:30 remaining.
With 1:14 on the clock, Elquist cashed a pair of freebies for a 59-56 lead.
With 45 seconds remaining, Baum lured the defense in and kicked to Elquist on the wing for the biggest jump shot of Elko’s season for her 11th point.
Elko got the ball back to Elquist, Spring Creek forced to foul.
She dropped both free throws and completed a wild, wacky and gritty victory over No. 2 Spring Creek by a final score of 63-56.
Rowley finished with a game-high 24 points, Caitlyn Dimick finishing with 21 points to lead Spring Creek.
Elquist scored six of her 13 points for the Lady Indians in overtime, and Baum closed in double digits for the Lady Indians with 10 points.
Yaunick scored eight of her 12 in the second quarter, Kylee Dimick finished with nine points and Yadeskie added eight for the Lady Spartans.
For Elko, Hendrix scored seven off the bench and Pulley chipped in six points.
SPRING CREEK – 9 – 13 – 8 – 22 – 4 – 56 Total
ELKO – 14 –13 – 12 – 13 – 11 – 63 Total
The Lady Indians improved to 10-5, dropping the Lady Spartans to 11-4 in the Division 3A North.
Spring Creek will host Lowry in a crucial contest at 6 p.m. Friday, the Lady Bucks playing at 1 p.m. Saturday against the Lady Indians at Centennial Gymnasium.
Due to the late tip and the girls game going into overtime, the boys game did not make press deadline. For coverage of the game, look in the Thursday edition of the Elko Daily and online at elkodaily.com/sports.