Extra basketball can be a time for lessons. Every extra quarter Ardmore gets is another stage for growth.
The Tigers did a little more growing on Tuesday, as they were finally able to shake Bishop McGuinness 51-50 in overtime. Ardmore (7-8) closed the extra period with an increased defensive effort and a 9-4 run that helped them overcome some shaky free-throw shooting in the closing minutes.
The lesson: If one facet isn’t working, don’t let the others fall off.
“We spent four days doing defense after the Holiday Festival,” Ardmore coach Kevin Kelly said. “That whole week of practice, we really buckled down on the defensive end ... really got back to what we were doing earlier in the year.”
Patrice Bennett scored 16 points, Tee Taylor added 11 and Destinee Howell had nine, including four in the overtime period for Ardmore. Tied 40-40 at the end of regulation, Ardmore and McGuinness traded points before the Irish scored three in a row to take a 45-42 lead.
Bennett hit a free throw, then Howell came up with a key rebound and was fouled on the putback. She converted on the 3-point play to put Ardmore ahead 46-45.
Ardmore wouldn’t trail again. Taylor hit a 3-pointer and McGuinness couldn’t get free throws to fall.
After going 4-for-4 in the fourth quarter from the line, McGuinness was 3-of-8 in OT. Torie Shanbour led the Irish with nine points off the bench.
Shanbour’s last gasp 3 with Ardmore ahead 51-47 was the final breath for McGuinness in a contest in which each team struggled from the field and the line.
McGuinness was 15-of-31 from the free-throw line to Ardmore’s 14-of-29.
“We’re getting the shots, we’re getting layups and open looks, but we’re just not converting,” Kelly said. “That may have to do with a little bit of an experience issue, but now we’re in the second half of the season. We’ve all got the first half under our belt; we need to start stepping up and making some plays.”
In terms of toughness, the Tigers did step up. Ardmore was overmatched again on the front line, with McGuinness bringing more size off the bench than the Tigers had in the starting lineup. But that didn’t stop the Tigers from only losing the rebound battle 39-37.
A big part of that was freshman Kyla Stapleton pulling down a game-high 16 rebounds to go with six points. Also, at every opportunity, the Tigers were on the floor for loose balls, tying up possession and jumping passing lanes.
That effort will make up for an off offensive night, Kelly said. The Tigers’ defense forced 20 turnovers.
Page 2 of 2 - “Basically just playing harder,” Kelly said of what improvements Ardmore made on defense. “If we do that on the defensive end, we’ve got a chance to be pretty dang good.”
Erik K. Horne