CLINTON — The Skyline Lady Tigers turned up the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter and rallied past Windsor 61-55 in the Class 2 sectional on Wednesday.
In the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, Skyline forced five Windsor turnovers in eight possessions, turning what had been a 39-32 Windsor lead after three quarters into a 49-43 Skyline lead.
Down the stretch Windsor had chances, cutting into the Lady Tigers lead several times including a Jessica Neel 3-pointer to make it a five-point game, but Skyline hit 10 of 14 from the free throw line to put the game away.
“We just didn’t handle it,” said Windsor coach Brad Forrest. “We did a good job handling it early in the game and they got out of it. They came out with a little extra intensity there in the fourth quarter and we just didn’t handle the pressure, had a couple calls that didn’t go our way. They were close. That added on top of that. They just made a run and we couldn’t answer.”
Entering the fourth quarter, Skyline’s Madisen Brethower had nine points in the game but over the last eight minutes she scored 22 points. She opened the run with a 3-point play, then followed that with another basket in the paint. Her next four points came from the free throw line before teammate Hannah Myers scored a basket in the paint with 5:34 left to put Skyline ahead 43-42. After a Haley Crouch free throw tied the game for Windsor, Brethower answered with a putback to make it 45-43 Skyline and the Lady Tigers led the rest of the way. Brethower added a layup off a turnover to make it 49-43 and a drive moments later to make it 51-45, then scored her last nine points from the free throw line.
“She’s a stud,” Forrest said. “That girl can play. Good players take over at the end of the game and she took over at the end of the game.”
Windsor got 12 points in the first half from Crouch, who finished the game with 19.
“When she’s hitting, it makes somebody else that they have to guard besides Shelby (Williams) and Bailey (Rollins),” Forrest said. “She was hitting and it really opened up the rest of the offense for us.”
Crouch’s first four points were Windsor’s first four of the game as she hit a jumper and a basket in the paint. Rollins added a 3-pointer to put the Lady Greyhounds up 7-4 before Skyline came back to take a 9-7 lead. Windsor answered with baskets from Williams and Crouch and led 12-11 after one.
The second quarter was one of runs as Crouch hit a 3-pointer and Williams hit a basket to make it 19-13 before Skyline rallied, cutting it to 23-21 on a 3-pointer from Ashley Bishop. On the next two Windsor possessions, Riley Moore and Rollins hit 3-pointers to give Windsor a 29-21 lead heading into the half.
“We were forcing them to take shots on the run,” Forrest said. “We were forcing them to take contested shots. By doing that, we solidified our rebounding and were able to stretch it out. We did a really good job on defense int he second quarter, stepping out on shooters and forcing them to take shots we wanted them to take.”
Williams extended the Windsor lead to 31-21 early in the third with a basket before a Brethower basket and a 3-pointer by Alexa Beck cut into the lead for Skyline. The Lady Tigers got within three before baskets by Williams and Rollins made it a seven-point game at the end of the quarter.
Rollins finished with 14 points. Williams had 13.