Overtime was needed when Class 4-A No. 10 Lewis Central and 3-A No. 1 Sioux City Heelan got together. Lewis Central defeated Heelan 60-58, improving to 2-0 on the season. Heelan is now 0-1.
Lewis Central trailed after the first quarter, but rallied in the second, outscoring Heelan 14-10 to take a 30-28 lead into the locker room. L.C. won the third quarter, but lost the fourth as Heelan tied the game with under a minute to play.
Lewis Central got the lead early in OT and never let it go, finishing it off with a Megan Witte free throw and a steal from Jayden Cross.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Lewis Central coach Derek Archer said. “We made enough plays, so that’s what counts. You don’t expect to win a ballgame against a No. 1 team when you have 25 turnovers, but we found a way to do it.”
Heelan came out aggressive on defense, getting hands up and filling passing lanes all night. The Crusaders only graduated one girl from last season, and start this year with the No. 1 ranking in Class 3-A.
“We knew what they were going to do against us tonight,” Archer said. “We worked on it a lot, it didn’t show at times, but we made enough plays.”
Witte had a big night for Lewis Central, leading the team with 20 points and 15 rebounds, with 10 of those rebounds on the defensive end of the floor.
“This early in the season for somebody to play all but one-and-a half-minutes of the entire game and still have something left at the end to hit some free throws and hit some big time shots, you just can’t say enough about somebody who gives you that kind of effort every single night,” Archer said.
Up by one point, Witte hit one of two free throws, before Cross came up with a steal on Heelan’s last possession to seal the victory for L.C.
“We talked about that after the game,” Archer said. “Jayden comes in and misses that layup, but she didn’t sulk. She didn’t get down about it and hang her head, and she ends up getting the game-winning steal.
“That’s what you like to see from your girls. Even when they make mistakes at times, they’re going to come back and still play hard.”
McKenna Pettepier also had a big night for Lewis Central, finishing with 15 points and five rebounds on the night.
“It was a big game for us; last year didn’t end the way we wanted,” Pettepier said. “I hit a 3 early in the game, and then my teammates did a good job getting me the ball. I think we moved the ball around well, got their defense moving around and we got open shots.”
Archer thought Pettepier played well, too.
“She hit some huge shots, especially in the first half,” he said. “Last week she didn’t play that great of a game, and she was a little down about it. So it’s nice to see her come out in a high-pressure situation and hit some shots.”
Going forward, the depth on display in this game will be a strength for the Titans. Lewis Central had two starters foul out against Heelan but still got the job done in the end.
“Our depth is one thing that we can play a lot of girls a lot of minutes,” Archer said. “I think we still have a couple of girls that haven’t really played much yet this year that will factor in by the time it’s all said and done.
“Our girls coming in off the bench, the level doesn’t drop when they come in. That’s such a big deal. With us, basically one through eight right now the level stays the same.
Witte and Pettepier combined for 35 of Lewis Central’s 60 points. McKenna Paulsen was 2 for 2 shooting 3s and finished with eight points. Delaney Esterling and Cross added six points apiece.
“On defense, I just had to stay in front of her (Ella Skinner), and then everyone boxed out, the rebounds came after that,” Witte said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we pulled it off and that’s all that matters.”
Up next for Lewis Central is a trip to Red Oak on Dec. 6th.
Lewis Central (2-0) 16 14 13 8 9 60
Bishop Heelan (0-1) 18 10 11 12 7 58
Lewis Central stat leaders: Megan Witte 7-10 6-8 20, McKeena Pettepier 5-12 1-2 15, McKeena Paulsen 3-5 0-0 8, Delaney Esterling 3-11 0-0 6, Jayden Cross 2-7 1-3 6