Clutch Annis jumper buries KC Christian
McLouth Facing a methodical opponent and trailing by eight entering the fourth quarter, it appeared the Bulldogs' winning streak was in jeopardy.
But the McLouth High girls basketball players didn't let such thoughts creep into their minds on Friday.
MHS held visiting Kansas City Christian to seven fourth-quarter points and senior Abby Annis buried what proved to be the deciding bucket from the left elbow with 12 seconds remaining in a 36-35 victory that extended the Bulldogs' winning streak to six.
Bulldogs coach Todd Cossman said things began to click on offense for MHS (11-6 overall, 6-1 Delaware Valley League) in the final eight minutes because of ball movement.
"We did a lot better job of swinging it from side to side and that really opened up the inside," he said. "Once (KCC) looked to take that away, Annis hit a shot from the outside."
Annis entered the fourth quarter with just two points, but scored seven in the final three minutes. That outside jumper that Cossman referenced came on the left baseline after Samantha Farris found her on a skip pass. Annis then picked off a Panthers pass and took it the other way for a layup and foul that tied the game at 33 with 2:30 remaining.
The Bulldogs, who now stand atop the DVL standings with only one league setback, started the fourth-quarter run when sophomore Melissa Rome put back an offensive rebound. The inside scoring continued when sophomore Kylie Shufflebarger scored six straight points for the Bulldogs, getting two at the charity stripe and four more on a pair of nifty jump-hooks. The second hook was left-handed off glass, a shot that Cossman has helped the young forward work into her repertoire.
"We have been working a lot with our left hook in practice," Shufflebarger said. "I'm not very good with my left hand. Our other post player is better, but it worked for me (on Friday)."
Rome led the Bulldogs with 16 points, while Annis scored nine and Shufflebarger had eight.
McLouth took its first lead of the fourth quarter with 1:01 to go when Cassidy Bristol, who scored three points, hit her first free throw of the night after missing her previous three attempts.
"She has confidence," Cossman said, adding that Bristol went 6-for-6 at the line during a game earlier this year. "She missed her first few, but she came in there in the clutch to knock it down."
KCC re-gained the lead at the :36 mark when Brooke Lindell hit a baseline jumper. Cossman called a time out with 30.7 ticks left knowing that either Shufflebarger or Annis would probably be an option.
"You've got to cover one or the other and they both stepped up," Cossman said of the duo's fourth quarter performance when the pair scored 13 of the Bulldogs' 16 points.
A desperation three by Lindell in the final seconds nearly banked in, but Shufflebarger snagged the defensive rebound and watched the scoreboard as time expired. She said keeping the MHS win streak alive was important.
"It's really big because we weren't very good last year," Shufflebarger said. "The winning is really building our confidence a lot."
The comeback victory assured McLouth of its first winning season since the 2000-2001 campaign.
Scoring by quarters:
KC Christian 11 10 7 7 35
McLouth 10 2 8 16 36