Normally a bundle of nerves, Campbell County senior wing Kristin Chapman was calm and collected Monday night each time she stepped to the free throw line during the final minutes of the biggest game of her high school career.
Chapman held her breath, took aim and then squeezed off shot after shot, hitting five of six attempts down the stretch.
The Lady Cougars (24-6 overall) needed every last one of Chapman’s charity tosses to defeat rival Anderson County, 59-54 in overtime at Oak Ridge, for their first District 3-AAA Girls’ Basketball Tournament Championship since 1991.
“We were ready to play them,” said Chapman, who was named tournament MVP.
“We knew we would see them again.”
Chapman and the rest of her Campbell County teammates had been plotting revenge against the Lady Mavericks ever since a 57-47 loss at AC on Feb. 3 spoiled their perfect district record.
With the Lady Cougars seeded first and the Lady Mavericks second on opposites sides of the tournament bracket, the stage was set for a rematch. Campbell County led by as many as 12 points in the second half, but could never put the game away. The final 12 minutes kept fans of the edge of their seats.
“We missed a ton of free throws, but I think we had good sets,” Lady Cougars’ coach Ryan Browning said.
“Some of the things we worked on (Saturday in a semifinal game) against Hardin Valley. I thought we had a good game plan last time we played (AC), but we just shot poorly.”
Campbell County never trailed in the first quarter, but the game was tied on four occasions, the last time at 8-8. The Lady Cougars pulled ahead by nine points during the second period before settling for a 27-21 halftime lead.
The Lady Mavericks faced a 12-point third quarter deficit when they went on a 15-4 tear to get within one early in the fourth.
Chapman made a pair of free throws with 3.2 seconds left to put Campbell County safely up by three, 50-47.
However, AC wasn’t finished.
Post player Meghan Ellis fired a baseball pass to midcourt, where a teammate caught the ball and passed it to AC sharpshooter Cayla Oglesby, who was standing near the top of the key.
With a defender in her face, Oglesby whirled around and threw up an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that hit nothing but net and sent the game into overtime tied 50-50.
The Lady Cougars grabbed the lead for good in OT. Chapman’s five foul shots during the final six minutes of the game were the only points she scored in the second half. She finished with nine points, including one field goal and seven of eight free throws.
Senior post player Maria Foust led Campbell County with 20 points, followed by point guard Courtney Morris with 19 points and three treys, Chapman nine points, Shayla Goins eight points and Niki Ward three.
Foust and Morris joined Chapman on the all-tournament team.
“I worried about our mindset when (Oglesby) hit that three,” Browning said.
“Give Anderson County a lot of credit. They did a good job defensively in the second half. We had to work for everything we got.”
The Lady Cougars won the game despite making only 15 of 27 foul shots. Campbell County will host William Blount tomorrow (Friday) night at 7 p.m. in a Region 2-AAA quarterfinal game.
Oglesby led all scorers with 26 points, including four 3-pointers, for Anderson County (19-11 overall). Kaitlyn Cupples chipped in 12 points for the Lady Mavericks, who will host Maryville tomorrow night in a region quarterfinal.
Two nights prior to their rematch with AC, the Lady Cougars defeated No. 4 seed Hardin Valley, 60-46, to punch their ticket to the championship game.
Chapman and Morris carried Campbell County with 13 points each, followed by Goins with 12, Foust eight, Courtney Miller six, and Amber Young and Hannah Owens four each.
Chapman also hauled down 10 rebounds, blocked three shots, made three steals and dished out two assists. Morris hit a pair of treys and also had four steals and four assists.
Young grabbed eight rebounds, made four steals and dished out two assists. Miller hit two 3-pointers.
The Lady Cougars hadn’t played for a whole week after being awarded a first-round bye for winning the district regular season title.
“I was a little worried going into that game about being off for seven days, but I thought we came out good and maybe were a little too aggressive,” Browning said. “In the second quarter, we struggled to get into our offense. In the second half, everyone contributed well, and I thought we did a great job limiting their points in the paint.”
Campbell County made only 31 percent of its shots from the field, but connected on 71 percent of its free throws (17 of 24).
Both teams led in the first half before Morris drilled an off-balance 3-pointer as time expired for a 23-21 halftime advantage for Campbell County.
The Lady Cougars took a five-point lead to the fourth quarter, where they extended it to 17 in the final minute.