Four days after a basket in the final minute led to a one-point win (47-46) over Tiffin Columbian, the Norwalk girls basketball did it once again on Saturday against visiting Clyde in an SBC Lake Division game.
This time, the Truckers pulled out a 44-43 win in the final minute on the first free throws of the season by freshman Joscey Thomas.
With the win, Norwalk improved to 6-6 overall and 3-4 in the Lake. The Truckers had lost at Clyde, 52-43, on Nov. 29.
“Just really proud of my girls today,” Norwalk coach Brock Manlet said. “Just like the Columbian game earlier this week, it wasn’t the cleanest game. We made a lot of mistakes and missed a lot of easy shots again. But they are learning what it takes to win a game like these two, and down the stretch we were able to make one more play than Clyde.”
Norwalk trailed 11-7 after one quarter on Saturday, but used an 18-12 second quarter to take a 25-23 halftime lead, as Kylie Moser connected on a driving shot in the lane just before the second quarter buzzer.
Both teams traded scores throughout much of the rest of the game, with the Fliers (6-7, 3-4) eventually taking a 43-42 lead into the final 90-plus seconds.
With just under a minute to go, Thomas, who had split her first free throw attempts of the game earlier, was fouled and stepped to the line and made them both for the 44-43 lead.
Thomas had taken just two free throws in the 12 games prior to Saturday, and was off the mark on both.
From there, neither team could put the game away. The Fliers had a final chance as the clock ran under 10 seconds, but Elena Barber was able to grab a loose ball turnover and was fouled with 2.2 seconds left.
She missed the first free throw, and was attempting to intentionally miss the second foul shot, but missed the rim altogether to blow it dead and give possession to Clyde.
In Tuesday’s win, the exact same scenario happened with 3.9 seconds left and Alex Nolan at the line. But also just like Tuesday, the Fliers were unable to get a shot attempt off for the final margin.
The shooting disparity for Norwalk was also nearly identical to Tuesday. In the win over Columbian, Norwalk was just 8-of-49 (16 percent) from inside the three-point line, but 7-of-15 (46 percent) behind it.
On Saturday, the Truckers were 10-of-42 from two-point range (24 percent), but 4-of-7 from three (57 percent).
Skylarr Story paced Norwalk in scoring with 11 points to go with four rebounds and two blocked shots. Nolan had nine points, three rebounds and two assists, while Barber added six points and four rebounds.
Also for Norwalk, Olivia Ward had four points, nine rebounds and four steals, while Brooklyn Davis had four points and six rebounds.
“A lot of kids contributed today,” Manlet said. “We played 10 deep, and are just real happy we found a way to win.”
With the six wins and another 10 games remaining, Norwalk has pushed well past last season’s 4-19 finish. The Truckers also went just 1-9 in league play last season.
“It’s especially a good feeling to be where we are after the season we went through last year,” Manlet said. “We’ve already surpassed that with two wins this week. We talked as a team about three weeks ago, and our short-term goal was to win 10 games. That’s what we’re shooting for.”
Norwalk visits Ontario on Tuesday in non-league play.
“They have that goal in mind, and little by little we’re reaching that goal, then we can set another one,” Manlet said. “The girls are excited and it’s showing up in both practice and games. We’re hoping to continue that.”
CLYDE (6-7, 3-4)
Kaylee Eltringham 3-2—8; Kamydn Taylor 1-0—3; Kristin Harrah 5-5—15; Krista Cook 1-1—3; Sidney Hohman 7-0—14. TOTALS 17-8—43.
NORWALK (7-6, 3-4)
Alex Nolan 3-0—9; Joscey Thomas 0-3—3; Olivia Ward 1-2—4; Elena Barber 3-0—6; Janel Jubak 1-2—5; Kylie Moser 1-0—2; Brooklyn Davis 1-2—4; Skylarr 4-3—11. TOTALS 14-12—44.
Clyde 11 12 8 12 — 43
Norwalk 7 18 7 12 — 44
3-point FGs: (C) Taylor; (N) Nolan 3, Jubak