Thursday night’s game between the Central Christian College Tigers and the Pioneers from Crowley's Ridge College was reminiscent of the roller coaster ride that has been the CCC women's season thus far.
The Tigers opened the season with a win at home, and then lost five straight. Then they went on a tear and won five of their next six to finish the fall at 6-6. In their first game of 2017 last Tuesday, they didn't look anything like their pre-holiday break team, and wound up getting run out of their own gym 74-47 by the Bethany College Swedes.
Thursday night was similar as the Tigers came back to defeat the Pioneers, 69-67, with a wild comeback.
The opening quarter was a shootout. The Tigers scored more points in the first 10 minutes, 22, than they did in the entire first half on Tuesday night. The Pioneers were a little better, knocking down four 3-pointers in the quarter to lead 27-22.
In the second quarter, the Pioneers extended their lead to 13 points at the 6:29 mark and looked to be in complete control. The Tigers however, began to find their groove, and over the final three and a half minutes, closed out the quarter on a 13-5 run to get back to within five at the break.
The Pioneers opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to put them up 16, and it looked like the wheels on the Tiger bus were coming off. Down 16, the Tigers went on a 15-0 run over the next three minutes, and closed the gap to within one, 59-60 with 5:53 left to play. The final five minutes and change were dog fight.
The Tigers tied the game at 62 with 3:19 left, but couldn't seem to get over the hump. They had the momentum, but the Pioneers wouldn't go away. CRC hit three free throws to push their lead back out to three, but after a steal by Haylee Floyd, Abbie Banks hit a huge 3-pointer to tie the game at 67. After a timeout, the Tigers nearly threw the ball away but wound up retaining possession. Rebekah Glessner found herself with the ball on the baseline with an 8-footer for the win. The ball rimmed out, but somehow found its way into the hands of Banks, and with less than a second on the clock, put up a quick shot that bounced off the back of iron and fell through to give the Tigers the 69-67 win.
Banks led all scorers with a career high 31 points. She was 11 of 21 from the floor and 6 of 15 from beyond the arc.
The Tigers are back to .500 at 7-7. They will go on the road next Tuesday night for a rematch with Ozark Christian College. The Tigers won the first match up at home, 74-44.