Standish leads comeback for Lexington
The engine that is Lexington girls’ basketball came up with a huge play in overtime that helped lift the Minutemen past Flanagan-Cornell 71-66 in a Heart of Illinois Conference basketball game Thursday at The Fort.
What makes the Lexington victory impressive was the 24-point fourth quarter that saw the home rally from a 13-point deficit. The Falcons had built a 52-39 advantage after outscoring LHS in each of the first three periods. The lead was 34-26 at the half and 18-14 after the opening quarter.
“We talked about it halftime, we just needed to chip away,” LHS head coach Bill Elias said. “We struggle playing against Flanagan, they play us tough.”
The struggle continued in the third. Then came the fourth frame.
Jayden Standish, who was keeping the Minutemen afloat with her scoring, put up nine points in the period. So, too was Elena Steffa, who made the key point with 1.8 seconds remaining in regulation.
A key play that led to Steffa’s free throw was a steal of an inbound pass. Standish had scored on a 3-pointer to pull Lexington to within one, at 63-62, with 13 seconds to go. The Minutemen stopped the clock with a timeout.
Flanagan-Cornell looked to get the ball in and probably get fouled, but the long pass was deflected and Standish beat a couple Falcons to the ball near the center line and secured it.
Steffa got fouled on a put-back attempt with 1.8 seconds showing. She stepped to the line after a Falcons’ timeout and saw her first toss go in and out. She swished the second to forge a 63-63 tie and force overtime.
“I had no illusion that we were going to win this game by 10 points, I knew they were going to have a run in them,” FCHS head coach Ron Spencer said of the Minutemen.
That run was a 24-11 scoring difference in the fourth frame. And, Lexington didn’t fall into the trap many teams do when making such a comeback and forcing overtime, which is running out of gas. The Minutemen kept the pedal to the metal in the extra frame.
The Falcons’ Jadyn Mitchell and Emma Boyd of Lexington traded baskets before Kayla Van Weelden drained a free throw to give the Falcons a 66-65 lead with 2:57 left.
Standish made her biggest defensive play when she picked the pocket of Elise Kane out top and took it in for a layup and a 67-66 Lexington advantage with 1:54 to go. It was the first lead for the Minutemen since the first quarter.
Standish added a basket 30 seconds later and scored on a give-and-go with Boyd with 36 ticks left for the final difference.
“(The Falcons) were gassed there at the end and we’ve been doing a lot of running during the break,” Elias said. “I played some of my younger girls early and had some others in there late.”
Standish finished with the gaudy numbers, including scoring 35 points for the game, 15 coming in the fourth period and overtime. But it was the help of players like Boyd, Steffa and Tia Hardt that created the victory.
“We gotta have someone step up, we need four or six points here, four or six points there,” Elias said.
Six players scored for Lexington (10-1) in the fourth period. Besides Standish, Steffa had 11 points, Jaylin Therian chipped in and Boyd scored 7 points. Lily Woith threw in 4 markers while Megan Kelly, Hardt and Faith Keagle each had 2 points.
Flanagan-Cornell seemed to be doing everything correctly, but just couldn’t make enough baskets down the stretch.
“I’m happy with how we played, I just wish we would have worked a little harder to finish the game,” Spencer said.
Mitchell burned the nets for 34 points for the Falcons and Heather Battice checked in with 15 points. Regan Reed scored 8 and was followed by Van Weelden with 6 points, Kane with 2 and McKenna Roth with 1 point.