Athol girls edge Drury in 2 OTs, 58-54
ATHOL — It took a pair of overtimes, but the Athol High School girls’ basketball team earned its second win of the season.
Callie Jillson netted the game-winning basket with 1:07 remaining in the second overtime to lead the Lady Raiders to a 58-54 victory over Drury High School, Saturday afternoon, in Mallet Gymnasium.
“It’s a good win to pull out,” said Athol head coach Dan Bevis. “We were able to battle back from an early deficit and the girls never quit. A loss would have put us in a tough spot.”
A back-and-forth contest saw the Blue Devils score the final five points of regulation to even the contest at 49 and send the game into overtime.
In the first extra four-minute period, Drury’s Katie Toomey barreled through the lane for a go-ahead basket with 2:05 to go, but Julia Carey scored the equalizer with 37 seconds to play to force a second extra frame.
Athol’s Lindsey Hamlett made 1-of-2 free throws with 2:20 left in the second overtime to give the home team a 52-51 lead. Emily Casella backed that up with a foul line jumper to push the Athol lead to three, 54-51, with 1:50 to go. Drury’s Nikki Crews answered with a three-ball to even the contest with 1:27 to go. Jillson responded with a jumper on the other end to give Athol a 56-54 lead.
Athol had a chance to put the game on ice, but Hope Parker missed a pair of free throws with 18 seconds to play. Toomey would miss a three-pointer on the Blue Devils’ return trip, but the rebound was knocked out of bounds by Athol with 6.9 seconds to play. Jenna Moulton and Olivia Carlson both got shots to tie the game, but were off the mark. Carey would corral the rebound on Carlson’s miss and hit both free throws with two seconds to play to cement the win.
Casella anchored the Athol attack in the win. The senior forward racked up 26 points and 22 rebounds for the Raiders. Casella netted 24 of her 26 points in the first three quarters as she helped her team turn an 11-point deficit into a nine-point lead.
“Emily played great,” said Bevis. “We was aggressive and got their two bigs into foul trouble. After that, she was able to take advantage of (Drury’s) lack of size and the girls made an effort to get her the ball.”
Carey was also a forced on the glass as she collected 15 rebounds to go with 10 points. Lindsey Hamlett added eight points and four assists.
Hope Parker had 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals to go with five points. Jillson also netted five. Kayla Robideau chipped in four.
Drury was able to take a 13-12 lead after a quarter of play and increased the advantage to 25-14 with 4:17 left in the first half. Hamlett, Casella and Parker sparked Athol as they went on an 11-0 run to tie the game at 25. Toomey scored with 15 seconds to go in the half to give Drury a 27-25 halftime advantage.
Athol picked up where they left off to begin the third quarter as Casella helped the Raiders take a 38-29 lead with 1:12 left in the frame. The Blue Devils would score the last five points of the quarter, however, and the Athol lead was just four heading into the fourth quarter.
Toomey led a surge as Drury took a 39-38 lead with 6:47 left to play. Athol responded with an 8-0 run as Robideau tossed in a pair of baskets to take a 46-39 lead with 4:44 to go.
A bankshot from Carey kept Athol up five with 2:20 to go, but Toomey stayed hot and scored the final five points of the frame to force overtime. Toomey, who spent much of the first three quarters sidelined with foul trouble, was 5-of-5 shooting in the fourth quarter while scoring 13 points.
Athol (2-2) returns to the court Tuesday when they visit Longmeadow.