Things were looking good for the home team midway through the third quarter Monday night in Missouri Class 5 District 10 Tournament semifinal action.
But as has been the case many painful times this season, the second-seeded Rolla High girls' basketball team couldn't close the deal.
The third-seeded Washington Lady Jays erased a 15-point second-half deficit and took their first lead on the game's final basket, getting a driving layup from 5-11 senior forward Kirstie Leslie with :03 remaining for a 55-53 victory at the RHS gym.
Leslie's basket sends Washington to the championship game of the girls' bracket against defending district champion Waynesville. Top-seeded Waynesville thrashed fifth-seeded Lebanon 62-33 in the other semifinal game Monday.
Waynesville (12-13) takes on Washington (15-10) at 6 p.m. Thursday for the girls' district crown at the RHS gym.
The Rolla Lady Bulldogs end the season with a 10-15 mark.
In Class 5 District 10 boys' semifinal games scheduled for last night it was top-seeded Washington vs. fifth-seeded Lebanon and second-seeded Rolla vs. third-seeded Waynesville. The boys' title game is slated for 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Washington 55, Rolla 53
A 15-foot jumper by Rolla's lone senior, forward Andrea Zalis, at the 4:37 mark of the third period gave the Lady Bulldogs their largest lead of the game, 44-29.
Over the remainder of the third period into the first minute of the fourth quarter Washington outscored Rolla 15-2. Freshman guard Paige Carpenter made a steal and scored on a fast-break layup to open the fourth-period scoring to cut the Lady Jays' deficit to two, 46-44.
Rolla went nearly six minutes without a field goal until junior forward Madison Collier scored a driving layup with 4:37 remaining in the fourth period, giving RHS a 49-45 advantage.
Over the final 3:00 the turnovers outnumbered field goals by a 2-to-1 margin for both teams. With 2:45 left junior guard Megan Bauche made a steal which led to Carpenter's layup to allow Washington to tie the game 51-51.
Collier would score on another layup at the 1:52 mark to give Rolla the lead back.
Jays' junior guard Courtney Kedroski was fouled the next two trips down the floor and hit 2-of-4 free throws, the latter at the 1:19 mark to again tie things up.
Rolla would not score again, missing two free throws with 1:06 left. And with :45 remaining Rolla made a steal, only to turn the ball back over three seconds later and Washington called a timeout.
The Lady Jays worked the clock down until nearly suffering a turnover at halfcourt, after which they called another timeout with :18 remaining. Washington inbounded the ball and again worked the clock. The Jays got the ball to Leslie on the left of the lane. She drove in for the game-winning layup with :03 left. Rolla called timeout with :02.1 remaining but could only get off a halfcourt heave as time expired.
Page 2 of 2 - Zalis ended her Lady Bulldog career with a game-high 20 points while Collier had 14 points and junior forward Gabe Otte 10.
Kedroski finished with 16 points, including 11 free throws, to lead the Lady Jays while Carpenter added 10 points.
Rolla (10-15): McCaul 3-1-7, Otte 5-0-10, Collier 5-2-14, Cates 1-0-2, Zalis 6-7-20, Totals 15-10-53.
Washington (15-10): K. Leslie 2-5-9, Kedroski 2-11-16, Bauche 3-0-7, Evans 4-1-9, Ballmann 0-2-2, Carpenter 4-0-10, Kackley 0-2-2, Totals 15-21-55.
Waynesville 62, Lebanon 33
For the second time in as many attempts the Waynesville Lady Tigers rolled over Lebanon, this time ending the Yellowjackets' season. On Jan. 17 Waynesville won 67-46 at Lebanon in Ozark Conference action.
It was much the same on Monday, as 5-10 freshman forward Kallie Bildner scored eight points in the opening period as the Lady Tigers bolted to a 17-4 lead. Waynesville rolled up 18 more points in the second quarter to enter halftime with a 35-13 edge.
Waynesville outscored Lebanon 19-11 in the third period to take a 54-24 padding into the final period, which proved more than enough.
Bildner led a balanced Waynesville attack with 15 points and nine rebounds while 5-6 sophomore guard Chelsea Howser had 14 points, five assists and three steals; 5-10 junior forward Hannah Bland 11 points, nine boards and three steals, and 5-6 senior guard Dorothy Adams dished out six assists.
Senior forward Kelsey Pemberton scored eight points to lead Lebanon, which ends with a 4-20 mark.
Waynesville (12-13): Bildner 7-1-15, Howser 5-2-14, Laughlin 3-0-7, Finger 1-0-2, Adams 2-4-8, Bland 4-3-11, Williams 0-1-1, Larson 1-2-4, Totals 1-2-4, Totals 23-13-62.
Lebanon (4-20): Light 2-0-4, Mitchell 0-1-1, Hudson 1-0-3, Pemberton 2-4-8, Morris 1-1-3, Widhalm 1-3-5, Callahan 1-2-4, Carter 2-1-5, Totals 10-12-33.