Northwest women’s basketball wins overtime thriller against Washburn | Sports

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There the freshman guard was, on the south Bearcat Arena free throw line, with nothing between her and the basket but 12 feet of empty paint and tension-filled air.

Peyton Kelderman had more than 1,180 pairs of eyes on her with 17 seconds left in the game between North West Women’s Basketball and Washburn on Saturday afternoon.

Although she got all the attention, Kelderman met her teammates atop the keyt, clapping their hands as she made her way to the line.

With her right foot in front of her left, she waited for the referee’s pass to begin her free throw attempts. There she was, with the ball in her hands, blocking out everything but one thing in his mind.

“We knew it was our game to win,” Kelderman said.

If this was the Bearcats game to win, it took them a long time to prove it was true.

By the time of Kelderman’s free throw attempt, the game had already taken the full four quarters and 4:43 of overtime.

Kelderman’s thoughts finally came true, as his free throws gave the Bearcats 3 points, followed by a missed layup by Washburn. Freshman guard Molly Hartnett closed out the 58-53 win with a pair of her own free throws.

“I think it just shows the fight on our team – we kept fighting,” coach Austin Meyer said.

Her free throws weren’t uncharted territory for the Waukee, Iowa native, as while it was her first trip to the line of play, it wasn’t the first time in the contest she’d shot with any the pressure on her.

A layup from Washburn’s second-year guard Macy Doebele put the Ichabods up 47-46 with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter until a bit of a dribble from the senior north guard west Mallory McConkey allows him to find a wide-open Kelderman in the corner.

Splash.

The Bearcat Arena crowd erupted as the ‘Cats took a 49-47 lead with 12 seconds left.

“It was a big hit, but he got in,” Kelderman said. “After that 3, we knew the momentum was on our side.”

The Ichabods, of course, tied the game in those 12 seconds, but Kelderman was back in the moment – a chance to seal the victory for Northwest with just 2 points with 17 seconds left in overtime.

That’s when the Bearcat Arena crowd, which had apparently been building in volume since the start of the fourth quarter, came to a halt.

Kelderman fired his first shot and the ball bounced off the orange rim and onto the ground. Not good.

She grabbed the ball from the referee and looked to the edge for her second attempt. Almost as fast as the first time, she took the second hit. He didn’t share the same result as the previous one, going straight through the net to give the Bearcats a 56-53 lead.

The ensuing possession by Washburn ended in a missed 3-pointer by senior guard Shae Sanchez, and Hartnett finished the game with his own pair of free throws.

It took 45 minutes, but the Bearcats won the overtime thriller.

“I was just proud of our kids,” Meyer said.

“It wasn’t the best game at times, but we fought hard and kept fighting it throughout the game,” Kelderman said.

Despite the win, Northwest could have decided the outcome perhaps much sooner than that.

The Bearcats held a 17-7 lead with 7:52 left in the second quarter after an 11-0 run that stretched to 16 points seconds before the end of the first.

All good things must come to an end, however, and the Ichabods outscored the Cats 19-9 the rest of the half to tie the game at 26 points.

“We took 10 points and then struggled to score,” Meyer said. “But we also struggled to get saves, and that was the big problem.”

“We knew we weren’t playing our best, but we fixed those issues and had a game,” said senior forward Caitlyn Jordon.

Two North West players, McConkey and Kelderman, scored double-digit points in the win, with McConkey (16) leading the way. But one of the unlikely contributors was Jordan.

Although she only saw action in eight games this season before Washburn, she filled the spots of junior forward Paityn Rau, freshman forward Jillian Fleming and freshman guard Caely. Kesten with 13 minutes – the most playing time she has received this season.

She didn’t waste the opportunity either, recording a career-high 6 points and one steal.

“There are definitely tough times, but seeing how our program has progressed and improved over the years is all I could really ask for,” Jordon said. “I’m super grateful for the minutes, but at the end of the day I just want us to win.”

The win gave Northwest a 16-9 record and, with 16 wins, had its highest win total since the 2010-11 season, when the Bearcats finished 29-5 and were MIAA champions.

Meyer and company say they’re happy with the team’s success, but with three games left on the regular-season schedule, they just want to improve.

“It’s huge to finally get to where we want to be, and we just want to keep climbing that ladder,” Jordon said.

“We focused on getting better every day,” Meyer said the day after Northwest’s win over Washburn. “It’s good to, you know, tick some boxes for our program. Most wins in 10 years; that’s great, but we just want to make sure we’re not happy with that.

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