The rematch for basketball superiority in Washington County proved to be much like the first meeting a week ago. Only this time, it was the Okawville Lady Rockets who had the final say Saturday at Okawville High School.
Okawville junior guard Madelyn Tepe made two free throws with just over 11 seconds remaining, and the Lady Rockets defeated Nashville 32-31 in a non-conference girls basketball matchup.
Edged by Nashville 35-33 a week ago in the title game of the Nashville Thanksgiving Tournament, Okawville (6-1) looked like it would suffer the same fate after Nashville junior Karly Stanowski gave the Hornettes (4-2) the lead with an offensive rebound and basket with 19 seconds remaining.
But on the Lady Rockets final possession, Tepe was fouled while driving to the basket. The 5-foot-8 junior guard then made both free throws to put Okawville up by a point.
Nashville coach Doug Althoff, whose team was coming off a loss to Anna-Jonesboro in its River-to-River Conference opener, then called two timeouts to set up a final play. Stanowksi and Rachel Kell had good looks at the basket, but when a third attempt fell off the rim as the final buzzer sounded, Okawville had the win.
“This was an ugly game, but we won, and we’ll take it. I don’t know what it is about teams from Washington County. Neither one of us scores a lot of points,” a relieved Okawville coach Michelle Hasheider-Burianek said. “Give Tepe credit. She took the ball to the basket, got fouled and stepped up and made the free throws.
“We knew it would be another close game. It always seems to be that way when we play Nashville.”
Junior guard Madison Hackstadt led Okawville with 12 points, while Casean Tebbe added 10. Tebbe scored all of her points in the first half and combined with Hacksatdt to score all 17 of the Lady Rockets’ first-half points. Okawville led 17-13 at halftime.
The Okawville lead grew to 26-20 late in the third quarter when Tepe scored on a conventional three-point play. But following Tepe’s basket, Okawville would go more than five minutes without a point, as Nashville rallied.
Senior forward Janie Holle scored seven of her points in the fourth quarter to key the Hornettes’ surge. But Holle, who combined with Stanowski for all but five of Nashville’s points, fouled out of the game with 1:25 remaining.
Stanowski, who led all scorers with 15 points, had the first of the Hornettes’ three chances in the final 11 seconds — a free throw line jumper — but it wouldn’t drop.
“We had three good looks at the basket. Sometimes they just don’t fall. That’s basketball,” Althoff said. “The effort was there. I thought we gave a very good effort today.
“I think if we played Okawville 10 times, both teams would probably win five. We’re pretty evenly matched.”