ANDOVER - Both the Perry Pirates and Lakeview Bulldogs have their go-to players looking for the big play or basket. However, it all came down to a freshman player stepping up at the end for the Bulldogs to claim a thrilling 56-54 overtime win over the Pirates in a Division II sectional championship.
After overcoming a nine-point Pirate lead late in the contest to tie the score at 48-48 following an Alli Pavlik layup, Perry senior Emily Clark broke the tie with a free throw with 1:05 to play in regulation.
Rebecca Mansell gave the Bulldogs (18-5) a 50-49 edge with 53.1 seconds to play with a short jumper.
Two possessions later, both turnovers, Pavlik was whistled for her fifth foul of the game as Perry sophomore guard Brittany Levkulich (19 points, 6 rebounds) fired up a game-winning 3-point attempt.
Levkulich calmly nailed the first shot to tie the game with .2 seconds left.
"We've had a lot of time off the last couple weeks," Lakeview coach Adam Lewis said. "After 10 straight days of practice, I figured we might be a little flat, and that's the way we played early in the game. We were down, and we just didn't want to lose that way.
"Other girls than our usual leaders needed to step up, and I can't enough about how Rachel Calvin and Addison Becker made plays when we absolutely needed them."
After Levkulich had her second free throw try go halfway down and roll out, a Bulldog timeout added to the tension. Her third try rolled off the right side of the rim, sending the game to an extra session.
"The ball just didn't go in for Brittany at the end of regulation," Pirate coach Mike Decker said. "I would be perfectly willing to put the ball in her hands in that situation every time. It just wasn't going to be her moment."
In the overtime, with Pavlik and senior forward Lizzy Konitsney having both gone to the bench with five fouls, other Bulldogs had to step up, and they did.
"A box and one is hard to run plays off of on offense," Pavlik said after her hard-earned 20 points night paced her team's win. "You just have to depend on the other girls to score. We are far from a one-man team, though, and every person who played made big plays to either get us back in the game or at the end, to win it."
After being shut down much of the middle portion of the game, Pavlik broke loose for 11 fourth period points.
Tied in overtime at 52 after Calvin's only basket and a jumper from Levkulich, Becker nailed a jumper in the lane and Clark responded for Perry (10-14) with 1:43 left to set the stage for a grand finale.
Pavlik's 20 and the 12 points of Mansell, coupled with seven assists, led the way for Lakeview.