Ypsilanti keeps Skyline from getting first conference win in girls basketball
With two minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter against Ypsilanti, the scoreboard was not in the Skyline girls basketball team's favor on two fronts.
The Eagles trailed 32-25 and had eight fouls to Ypsilanti's zero. The stage seemed set for an Ypsilanti runaway.
"I felt real good about that," Ypsilanti coach Chris Slater said. "Only thing was, we let it slip."
Ypsilanti got the win, 51-48, but not without some dramatic turns first.
After Jasmine Jones' free throw gave Ypsilanti that seven-point lead in the third quarter, Skyline went on a 13-2 run, sparked by Janae Sims' seven points in 82 seconds.
Skyline led 38-34 and forced Ypsilanti into a timeout with 5:41 left in the game.
"We knew with our quickness up front we'd be able to force them to either take quick shots or turn the ball over," Skyline coach Keith Wade said about his team's comeback.
But Skyline could only hold the lead for 17 seconds as Breanna Wheeler hit two free throws and then scored off a turnover coming out of the timeout.
"We talked to them about playing fast on defense and dictating the tempo on offense," Wade said about the timeout. "And we had a couple costly turnovers, which gave them easy layups, and then of course we started fouling and put them on the free-throw line."
The game seesawed back-and-forth from there. Tied 48-48, Cara Easley made a layup with 32 seconds left to break the fourth quarter's fourth and final tie.
"We were trying to get her on the block the whole time," Slater said of Easley. "They don't have any shot blockers."
Ypsilanti was able to get inside more easily with the absence of Skyline's Melissa Valentine, the only Eagle taller than 5-8, due to what Wade called a "discipline issue."
"We had a post player in that had four fouls and she kind of backed off because she was worried about the fifth foul," Wade said. "That's just learning. Learning how to win. Down the stretch you don't worry about whether you foul out or not. And that's something we should've been more adamant about in the huddle and we weren't. So we'll learn from it."
After Skyline missed inside on its next possession, Wheeler was fouled with 5.4 seconds left. She made the first, missed the second and Skyline's long pass was intercepted at half-court as the buzzer sounded, the Eagles' 15th turnover of the second half. Ypsilanti had 18 second-half turnovers.
"Coach Wade got 'em playing," Slater said of Skyline. "It's not too many times you play a team that's pressing after a missed basket."
Slater counted 14 turnovers in the first half to go along with 14 missed layups. From the 7:26 mark until a minute remained in the second quarter, neither team had a field goal. Ypsilanti also went without a field goal for nearly eight minutes in the second half.
"We went over it time and time again," Slater said of the press break. "Halftime, third quarter. We just really didn't catch on."
Jones scored 17 and Easley 16 for Ypsilanti (5-8, 4-5 SEC White).
"As a whole, not a good effort for us. Not this late in the season. We need to play better," Slater said. "We're still missing too many layups. We're leaving points on the floor."
Sims scored 11 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter for Skyline (3-13, 0-9 SEC Red), still looking for its first league win in two-years. Anita Vandermeulen led the Eagles with 15 points.
"We played well. We made some adjustments and our defense really picked up after the first quarter," Wade said. "We just didn't close out at the end."
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