KEARNEY — Grand Island Central Catholic’s girls survived two layup attempts by Kearney Catholic’s Ashley Keck in the last 11 seconds to get away with a 38-36 victory Friday night to stay unbeaten.
Playing without 6-foot sophomore starter Lucy Ghaifan, who is in Africa visiting relatives, the Crusaders struggled to find an offensive rhythm throughout the night and trailed the Stars 31-27 with five minutes to play.
But an 8-point run put the Crusaders ahead by four with two minutes to go.
“They ran a couple nice pick and rolls with Chloe (Cloud) down low ... and she was able to convert,” Kearney Catholic coach Rick Petri said. “And then, we play great defense on (Rylie) Rice and she banks in a three. ... Some of those things you can’t control. I mean, hand in her face, force her to shoot a long shot that goes in.
“But good teams find a way to win and they did tonight.”
Rice and Cloud scored four points each in the mini-run and Cloud hit two more free throws with 42 seconds left. Both finished in double figures as Cloud led the team with 12 points and Rice scored 10.
However, the excitement wasn’t over.
A 3-pointer by Kearney Catholic’s Ashlyn Wischmeier with 26 seconds left cut the margin to one point and the Crusaders’ Alexis Mudloff missed two free throws with 19 seconds left.
Mudloff, however, rebounded her missed free throw and Alyssa Wilson’s free throw with 11 seconds left made it a 2-point lead.
With fouls to give before Kearney Catholic earned free throws, the Crusaders forced the Stars to burn up some time but KCHS still got two looks at the basket.
The first was an open layup on an in-bounds play. But Keck, who led all scorers, missed.
Keck had another off-balance shot at the buzzer that didn’t fall.
“We got a couple shots and it just didn’t work out for us,” Petri said. “We ran a play and missed a layup. That’s not going to happen very often that she’s going to miss one.”
KCHS travels to North Platte today (Saturday) to play the Bulldogs.
GICC 38, KCHS 36
Score by Quarters
GICC (11-0)7 10 8 13 — 38
KCHS (5-6)4 11 8 13 — 36
GICC — Regan Gellatly 6, Alexis Mudloff 1, Jenna Heidelk 7, Alyssa Wilson 2, Rylie Rice 10, Chloe Cloud 12.
KCHS — Ashley Keck 18, Liv Nore 1, Ashlyn Wischmeier 12, Jacee Nore 3, Kyla Reifenrath 1.