After four years and 12 games, what's eight extra minutes?
It took double overtime for Waterloo to get a long-awaited 57-50 win over Monroe County rival Columbia. It was the Bulldogs' first win over the Eagles since January 2011 and it couldn't have been better timed.
The upset of the top-seeded team advances Waterloo to the championship of the Class 3A Mascoutah Regional. The Bulldogs played their way into the semifinal with a three-point win over Cahokia on Tuesday.
"I think the win last night helped our confidence," said sophomore guard Taylor Augustine. "When we all play together as a team, and really get things together, we can win these games."
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With season-ending injuries to seniors Mia Reed and Kaitlyn Storm over the weekend, Waterloo coach Matt Lucash started two sophomores and a freshman. It was the sophomores, Augustine and Kathryn Finnerty, who led the way.
Finnerty scored a game-high 20 points including 13 in the two overtime periods. Augustine added 19 including a perfect six-for-six from the free throw line in the second overtime.
"We didn't even have a chance to put five kids on the floor over the weekend that were going to start (in the regional)," Lucash said. "The girls responded really well. Taylor Augustine hit those free throws and Kat Finnerty, well, she's good."
Waterloo (9-17) will face Mascoutah (13-14) for the regional championship Friday. The last time the two teams met resulted in a double-overtime loss for the Bulldogs.
Columbia, which entered the game having won three straight, sees its season end at 17-10.
"We knew Kat was a load in the paint and they knocked some shots down early," said Columbia coach Scott Germain. "It was hard for us to catch up, but the girls kept fighting when it would have been easy for them to give up."
Waterloo took command of the game early, opening a 16-6 lead at the end of the first and 26-13 at the half. Columbia was held to just six first-half field goals including a Regan Rippelmeyer's three-point basket with 20 seconds left.
Augustine had 11 points at the half and the Waterloo defense was smothering under the basket.
"We took care of the ball a little better and played good defense in the first half," Lucash said. "I preached to the girls that (the Eagles) haven't hurt us much from the outside — in the three games we played them I think they were 3 for 14 on 3-pointers — but man they are deadly from around the lane. We just talked about keeping them out of there.
"In the first half we did a really good job of that and didn't foul."
Columbia chipped its way back into the game in the fourth quarter. The Eagles opened with a six-point rally then got a 3-pointer from Claire Foster to narrow the Waterloo lead to 33-29.
The teams swapped baskets until Kaylee Bastien scored on a drive through the lane with 29 seconds left and on a jumper with 15 seconds in regulation to tie the game at 38-38 and send it to overtime.
Waterloo held a 47-44 lead with three seconds left in the first overtime when Claire Foster hit a three-point shot with two Waterloo defenders in her face.
"That's a girl who works hard. She's the last one out of the gym every day," Germain said. "I couldn't be happier for a girl, but I wish we could have finished it for her."
Bastien and Finnerty scored their teams’ lone field goals in the second overtime. But Augustine made the difference in the game, hitting all six of her free throw attempts. She was also perfect at the foul line in Waterloo’s quarterfinal win.
Bastein led Columbia with 17 points and Foster had 14. Also scoring were Rippelmeyer and Taryn Pena with six each and Kalli Farmer with five.
Sydney Luedeman added six for Waterloo, Courtney Kaufmann had four and Alyssa Busche and Heather Elliott scored two each.
Mascoutah 45, Althoff 43
Mascoutah battled back from a 13-point second-half deficit to defeat Althoff and advance to their first regional final since 2004.
“One of the things we talked about the last couple of games is that we are not quiters,” said an emotional Mascoutah coach Terry Moeller. “I’m proud of this team. It’s a good group of girls.”
The game was tied at 34 with 3:15 left when Althoff scored five straight on a stick-back bucket and free throws from Cambri Alexander. But Maddie Nekola scored 10 points of her game-high 17 points — including five free throws — inside the final three minutes. She said it was basket and foul by freshman Tieghan Morio that lit her fuse.
“Our team never gives in,” Nekola said. “We just push each other harder and harder. When we started getting some layups and Tieghan almost got that and-one we thought ‘this is it, we can do it, we’ve can finish this.”
Mascoutah (13-14) also got 14 points from Katie Jokisch and 10 from Alex Cleveland.
Althoff (12-15) was led by Divine Lane, who had 16 points.