Bailey Abbott hits game-winning three-pointer with 5 seconds left to give Northwestern one-point win.
SPRINGFIELD — Northwestern junior Bailey Abbott missed a three-pointer at the end of regulation that would have won a nonconference game and avoided overtime on Wednesday night.
Good thing for the Warriors that the 5-4 guard has as much heart as her teammates showed. With five seconds left in overtime, Abbott stroked a high-archer from the right wing that splashed down and led the host team to a 44-43 win over Greeneview.
“Coach (Aaron Stewart) always says to be the last person to want the ball in their hands,” Abbott said after the game. “The shot was open, you’ve got to take it. I had confidence.”
Northwestern junior forward Korynne Berner, who led her team with 13 points seven rebounds, was also confident in Abbott’s ability to make the key basket.
“I believed in her the whole time, because I trust that she is a good shooter,” Berner said. “I was glad she was one of the one’s taking it.”
Greeneview had enough time after Abbott’s shot to get the ball back down the floor. The Rams’ Kristen Combs got a shot off just before the buzzer, but it bounced of the rim.
Northwestern head coach Aaron Stewart said he was proud of how Abbott played. Abbott struggled shooting-wise for most of the game — her game-winner was the only shot she made.
“She kept battling and kept her head, and remained a leader out there on the floor for us,” Stewart said.
Both teams came out of the gate with full-court pressure and were tied 12-12 after one period of play. Greeneview was able to go up by two at halftime on the strength the Sonneman’s.
Sophomore guard Sydnie Sonnerman and senior forward Sophie Sonnerman combined for 12 first half points and 14 rebounds total rebounds in the game. Sophie led all scorers in points for the game with 18 points. She scored seven points in overtime.
The Rams appeared to be pulling away by the end of the fourth period as they built a 30-25 lead, much on the heels of Northwestern’s decision to drop back into a 2-3 quarter-court zone for most of the first three periods.
Then the difference was made in the fourth. Stewart decided to have his team play full court pressure man-to-man defense to try to make something happen.
It worked. That defense limited Greeneview to four points in the fourth quarter, including a scoreless streak over six minutes long. The Rams didn’t score until a free throw at the 1:54 mark. They did not score a field goal until 33 seconds left in the game.
“I think it was the difference for us,” Stewart said. “We were playing a little flat so we had to pick up the intensity a little bit.”
In overtime, Sophie Sonnerman tried to win it for her team single-handedly by building what seemed and insurmountable five-point cushion. However, the fight in the Warriors came out again and they clawed back to set up Abbott’s dream shot.
Katelyn Partlow, a 5-8 junior forwad, had an all-around solid game for Northwestern. Partlow scored 12 points and had six boards. Abby Zerkle scored nine points for her squad, including six in the second half.
Northwestern hit only two three’s on the night. Zerkle’s in the first quarter got her team started, and Abbott’s in overtime finished the game.
Greeneview (0-2) made it to the Division III regional finals a year ago. While the Warriors have only one senior on the roster and were under .500 a season ago, the youth movement is not lost on their head coach.
“They’re maturing quick,” Stewart said. “I’m very pleased and the future looks bright here.”
Northwestern (1-2) hosts Greenon on Saturday in a Central Buckeye Conference Mad River Division game. Greeneview looks for their first victory of the season on Saturday when they take on Ohio Heritage Conference foe Triad at home.