With 43.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter, down 41-39, Dodge City freshman guard Alec Fitts went to the free-throw line for two shots.
“I was pretty nervous,” Fitts said. “I was pretty nervous because I knew coach, if I didn’t make ‘em he was gonna kill me because we always practice free throws for when it’s a close game. So I was like ‘I gotta make ‘em!’”
She hit both.
Her shots tied the game at 41-41. About 33 seconds later, with 10.1 seconds remaining and the score the same, another Conquistador went to the line for two shots.
This time it was freshman guard Addison Rowley.
She missed the first.
“I was a little nervous because everyone was really excited,” Rowley said. “And then I got up there, (shot) the first one, missed it, shoulda made it, but made the second one and then knew we had to get a stop so we’d win the game.”
Rowley’s second free throw, in front of an energetic crowd, inside the Dodge City Community College Student Activity Center, proved the difference on the scoreboard.
In the final 10 seconds after it, the team made a defensive stop to complete the win.
The Conquistadors beat the Coffeyville Red Ravens Wednesday night by a score of 42-41.
It was their second straight win after a five-game losing streak to start the 2018 calendar-year.
The crowd inside the dome was as loud as it might have been all season toward the end of the women’s game. Rowley said that atmosphere helped the team pull out the win.
“It was great,” Rowley said. “Without all the fans there and without it being that loud, I don’t think we could have one that game, because having all of that got everybody going, (and) got the ball rolling for us.”
Head coach Zach Loll said Fitts and Rowley have been in enough of those high-pressure situations to know how to perform well in them. At this point it’s routine for them, he said.
“Addison misses her first one, (I) holler at her, tell her to relax a little bit, take a deep breath, she does, she knocks it down,” Loll said. “She’s a little tight, a lot going, but she bounced back, got us what we needed, we get the defensive stop and credit to the girls.”
But Wednesday night’s outcome almost certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of freshman guard Allie Baker, who had a game-high 13 points, as well as a game-high four points while also grabbing three steals.
Eight of those points came in the second half.
“She came out and really gave us a spark that we needed in the third quarter,” Loll said. “(She) knocked some shots down, and that was really big for us, and I thought she a good job managing the game late.”
She had a moment later in the game where she got a little tired and turned the ball over, but Coffeyville missed the layup on the other end, and Dodge City got to the free-throw line.
That’s when Loll said he pulled her aside side and told her “she helped you out, we escaped, nothing’s hurt,” Loll said.
“She just kinda was able to take a deep breath and kinda regather herself,” Loll said. “She was big for us.”
Performances like that are going to help the Conquistadors moving forward too, because now opponents can’t only guard players like Rowley and freshman forward Makaela Ewing.
“They’re gonna have to play us differently and it’s gonna make it easier for those two and then some other girls too,” Loll said.
After a Coffeyville score to start the third quarter, Baker made back-to-back 3’s, then made a 2-pointer after a Red Raven free throw, giving her the first eight points the Conqs scored in the second half.
The Conquistadors didn’t lead until they scored with 5:09 left in the third.
Early in the game they trailed, by as many as 10 in the second-quarter and as many as six in the first.
Still, Loll said he thought the team played excellent defense Wednesday night, in-part due to strong a strong scouting-report of Coffeyville by assistant coach Sta’Nisha Hersey.
The players locked into that for this game, and are progressing as a team in some noticeable ways.
“They have finally taken steps and realized how important communication is on the floor,” Loll said. “(The) last few days communication in practice has been great.”
Communication was probably key to the game-sealing stop, Loll said.
Rowley said it felt really good getting the last two wins after the team’s losing streak coming out of Christmas break.
Loll said it’s been good to win a couple because of how the girls have continued to work.
“I think it’s important for us that we got that win and were able to continue to move forward and give it to the girls, because they stayed with it,” Loll said. “They haven’t given up and they’ve stayed with the process and getting better every day.”
The men’s basketball team fell 87-76 against the Coffeyville men’s basketball team Wednesday night.