By Pilar Barrio Sánchez
Shae Littleford scored two free throws with 16 second left in the game to put Charleston ahead 41-40, and she then stole the ball in the last play of the game to secure Charleston’s win over Mahomet-Seymour on Thursday night at Charleston’s Baker gym.
With three minutes left in the game, the Trojans trailed, 38-37.
Littleford held the ball until two defenders went to chase her. She passed to Delaney Meister, who, in turn, passed back to Littleford inside, who made a layup to put Charleston back in the lead.
With a minute left on the game, Nichole Taylor scored a layup after getting an offensive rebound to put Mahomet in the lead, 40-39.
Littleford got the ball for the Trojans with 43 seconds left on the clock and decided to hold it until the defenders got closer to her.
She then drove towards the basket and got a fouled with 16 seconds left. Littleford made both of the free throws to put the Trojans back ahead, 41-40.
Littleford scored a game-high 28 points, which included making 11 of 13 free-throw attempts.
“Before the free throws, I was thinking we had a chance to win the game,” Littleford said. “We pulled through as a team and it was a great team effort all the way through. I at least shoot 10 free throws in a row each practice and I always try to get in extras, so I just had a lot of confident going up to the line.”
Charleston coach Jeff Miller called a time-out after they took the lead in order to plan its defensive strategy.
“We play man-to-man the entire game,” Miller said. “In the last time out, we went to a 2-3 zone. We gave them the illusion that we were going to play man-to-man and then we dropped back to zone. I think that surprised them a little bit.”
Charleston never trailed in the game until the last quarter when two starters – first, freshman Alycia Triplett and, then, freshman Shelby Herrington – had to leave the game after committing a fifth personal foul. Maggie Goetten and Ellie Long, who had just played the JV game before, had the responsibility to fill those roles for the rest of the game.
“We work really, really good together, and we have really young group, but they all work hard and they all want to be here so it is a lot of fun.” Littleford said.
Charleston, now 5-2, next plays on Monday against Effingham at 6 p.m.
Goetten 0 0-0 0, Triplett 0 1-2 1, Meister 1 0-0 3, Blair 3 0-2 7, Littleford 8 11-13 28, Herrington 1 0-0 2, Long 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 12-17 41.
3-pointers – Littleford 1, Blair 1, Meister 1.