John Curtis Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — Central A&M (26-5) fought their way through stiff challenges at the Toledo 1A Sectional, emerging with a win over St. Anthony in the semifinal, 49-31, and surviving a double-overtime championship game over Arcola, 62-57.
St. Anthony forced the Raiders to slow their roll in the sectional semifinal, but the Raiders were still up by double digits at the break, 26-16. The 3rd period was a lull before what St. Anthony wanted to be a 4th period storm to try a come back. The storm never happened, as A&M held serve down the stretch and pulled away for the 18-point win.
Ryan Dooley led A&M with 15 points and Mikah Maples followed with 11 points, a prelude to their role in the upcoming title game. Maples made all five of her free throws. A&M sank seven 3-pointers to St. Anthony’s zero. Dooley had a pair of treys, Kayla Gibson had a pair, and Kaley Hennings had a pair. Taylor Jordan buried one.
St. Anthony held A&M to just nine 2-pointers, but those seven triples were the difference. St. Anthony had just nine 2-pointers, as well and only one more free throw than the Raiders.
Central A&M 49, St. Anthony 31
St A 5-11-6-9--31
A&M stats: Dooley 15 (3-2s, 2-3 pt FGs, 3/5 FTs), Maples 11 (3 FGs, 5/5 FTs), Hennings 9 (1-2, 2-3 pt FGs, 1/2 FTs), T. Jordan 6 (1-2, 1-3 pt FGs, 1/2 FTs), Gibson 6 (2-3 pt FGs), Damery 2 (FG). Team FGs 16. 3-Pointers: 7 (Hennings 2, Dooley 2, Gibson 2, T. Jordan). Team FTs 10-of-14.
St. A stats: Richards 10 (2 FGs, 6/9 FTs), Walsh 7 (2 FGs, 3/5 FTs), Nuxoll 5 (2 FGs, 1/2 FTs), Gardewine 4 (2 FGs), Wendt 3 (FG, 1/2 FTs). Team FGs 9. Team FTs 11-of-18.
Arcola grabbed the Raiders by the tail in the sectional title game and would not let go. It gave them a chance to win at the wire. Arcola even took a lead in the 4th.
However, Dooley scored to force the first overtime, 47-47. Arcola was ahead at the end of first OT, but Taylor Jordan banked in a 3-pointer to force a second OT, 52-52. A&M gradually emerged from the gunsmoke in the 2nd OT with a 5-point win.
Like in the semifinal, Dooley and Maples led A&M. Dooley had 23 points and Maples 22 points. Dooley sank nine buckets, including a trey and made 4-of-6 at the line. Maples made 11 baskets, scoring all her points from the floor. Reece and Edwards led Arcola with 18 and 15 points, respectively.
A&M held a slight 1-point lead after the 1st, 16-15. They still could not shake Arcola and it was a 1-point game at the half, 26-25. A&M finally got a couple extra buckets in the 3rd to stretch their lead to five points, 40-35. But in the 4th, Arcola passed the Raiders up on a 12-5 run and held the lead until Dooley’s late score.
In a tight game, Arcola shot 22 free throws and made 12. A&M shot just eight free throws and made six, half as many points from the line as Arcola. A&M had just two 3-pointers and Arcola just one. From the arc and the line, Arcola had a 3-point edge. A&M had four extra 2-point buckets and that was the difference in the Raider win.
Central A&M 62, Arcola 57 - 2 OT
A&M stats: Dooley 23 (8-2s, 1-3 pt FGs, 4/6 FTs), Maples 22 (11 FGs), T. Jordan 9 (2-2s, 1-3 pt FGs, 2/2 FTs), Damery 4 (2 FGs), Hilton 2 (FG), Hennings 2 (FG). Team FGs 27. 3-Pointers: 2 (Dooley, T. Jordan). Team FTs 6-of-8.
Arcola stats: Reece 18 (8 FGs, 2/5 FTs), Edwards 15 (4-2s, 1-3 pt FGs, 4/7 FTs), Fishel 9 (3 FGs, 3/4 FTs), Conlin 9 (4 FGs, 1/4 FTs), Montgomery 6 (2 FGs, 2/2 FTs). Team FGs 22. 3-Pointers: 1 (Edwards). Team FTs 12-of-22.
A&M (26-5) plays Goreville in the Salem 1A Super-Sectional on Monday at 6 p.m. for the chance to go to state.