It’s the only shot that’s guaranteed to be uncontested in basketball, and Thursday night, the 15-footer from the free throw line looked more like one of those carnival shots at a basket slightly too high with a rim a little too small.
For Abington Heights and West Scranton, the game was there for the taking.
Abington Heights won, 41-35, but not before the Lady Comets missed nine of their first 10 free throws in the fourth quarter.
West players should take lessons from their teammates, Maria Coyne and Destiny Jefferson, who combined to go 13 for 13. The rest of the team….3 for 13. Ugh.
At least Abington Heights can walk away from this one and find the positives.
“We had to grind it out and we’ve been working on a delay game for the last two weeks,” Abington Heights coach Deanna Klingman said. “We did it, we got fouled. Now we have to convert the free throws.”
Abington Heights can chalk it up as a positive learning experience. They won. But if West Scranton took care of business in their own house, they could have left with a two-game lead in Division I of the Lackawanna League. Instead, the two are tied. Circle the final night of the regular season, Feb. 10, when the teams meet again, quite possibly with the league title and a better District 2 seeding on the line.
“That’s a big part of the game,” West coach Leo Ciullo said. “I think we missed 10 free throws. When coaches tell players that free throws win games, this is an example of it.”
West didn’t miss its free throws down the stretch. The Lady Invaders spread it out. In a game that was four points with three to play, make one more foul shot every quarter and … well, it’s obvious.
Family feud
In the battle for supremacy in the Fallon family, this year’s title goes to Kerry Fallon, after her Scranton freshman squad edged North Pocono, coached by her sister Ellen, by two points in overtime, on Thursday.
Now we’re ready
Michael Buffer should come to town to introduce the teams Monday night. That’s how big it feels as Holy Cross visits Dunmore in a clash of 13-0 teams, No. 2 vs. No. 1 in The Times-Tribune Basketball Poll.
Ask the coaches. They’ll tell you it’s just one of 12 league games. Uh-huh.
More on that Monday morning.