INDEPENDENCE, Kan. - After a competitive showing in non-conference play, the Independence Lady Pirates opened conference play at home against the Dodge City Conquistadors. The game had many ups and downs, but lack of rebounding at critical moments cost the Lady Pirates the game as they came up short in double overtime 76-70. The Lady Pirates were led in scoring by Victoria Mikkelsen with 19 points.
"We just didn't play to our full potential and gave up the lead and never really got control back completely," coach Leslie Crane said. "Our efficiency and defense have got to be better for us to have a competitive season."
"This weekend, we play Hutchinson and our defensive rebounding has got to be on for us to keep the game competitive."
In the first quarter, the game was scoreless for a bit, but the Conquistadors got on the board first with a three-pointer from Addison Rowley, but it wasn't long before Fatarah Kinnard tied the score with one of her own.
Jessica Goodluck connected from downtown to give Independence a 6-3 lead, but Makaela Ewing made a layup to cut the lead down to one. Victoria Mikkelsen responded with a bucket for the Lady Pirates and was fouled making the free throw to make the score 9-5 with 4:20 remaining in the period.
Dodge City cut the lead back to two with a quick layup by Fredrionna Adams, but a layup by Sadie Jordan pushed the score to 11-7 in favor of Independence at the 1:10 mark. The Conquistadors responded with a floater from Ashia Pool that was matched by a three-pointer at the buzzer from Macie Price making it a 14-9 advantage for Independence after opening minutes.
The second quarter began with an offensive struggle in the first minute, but Dodge City cut the lead to two after a long shot from Ewing just before a bucket down low made the score 16-12. Ashley Nelson made the game closer with a long shot, but a foul on the other end sent Goodluck to the line where she made two shots pushing the lead back to three.
Nelson cut the lead back too one, but Mikkelsen made a shot down low and delivered a free throw for a 21-17 lead and moments later a breakaway layup by Logan Collyer gave the Lady Pirates a six-point advantage. A three-point shot from Nelson cut the score to 23-20 and a layup by Alec Fitts had the Conquistadors within one with 4:35 left in the first half.
Dodge City took the lead after a long shot by Haleigh Hill at 25-23 and extended the lead to five after a three-pointer by Adams. A free throw from Goodluck and a bank shot by Kierra Crocket cut the lead down to two, but Kaylee Dale delivered a pair of shots from the line pushing the score to 30-26 and a foul at the buzzer saw one free throw by Adams make the score 31-26 Dodge City going into the locker room.
In the third quarter, Brittany Reeves made a quick bucket to cut the lead down to three, but a floater from Ewing pushed the score to 33-28. A 3-0 run capped by a layup from Mikkelsen cut the lead down to two, but Dodge City responded with a floater by Fitts for a 35-31 advantage at the 6:21 mark.
Mikkelsen found the basket again cutting the lead back to two, but a three-pointer by Hill stretched the lead back out just before a layup from Jordan made it 38-35. The Conquistadors responded with a shot inside and a breakaway layup off a steal by Pool making it a seven-point advantage for Dodge City.
Mikkelsen delivered inside, but Pool found the deep ball connection for the 45-37 lead. Free throws by Cayla Trotter brought the Lady Pirates back within six and a quick dump off to Mikkelsen made it 45-41 with 1:00 remaining in the period. Dodge City responded with a layup and inside shot by Ewing pushed the lead back to eight points and the final minutes approached with Independence trailing 49-41.
The fourth quarter began with a quick three-pointer by Ania Markowska, but the Conquistadors answered with a quick layup Hill that was matched by Reeves within seconds. The next few minutes were only filled with free throws and a layup but a steal by Goodluck transitioned into a layup from Crockett to cut the lead down to two with 4:55 left in regulation.
One free throw by Dodge City was answered with two from Macie Price, but Ewing found the inside window making the score 56-53 and a free throw pushed the lead to four. A 3-0 run after a Crockett layup cut the lead to one but Adams pushed it back to four with 1:05 remaining in regulation after a long shot from three-point range.
Independence responded with a steal and layup by Goodluck to make the score 60-58 and then tied the game after a bank shot from Reeves with 18 seconds remaining in regulation. Neither team would score in the final seconds and the game went to overtime tied at 60-60.
In overtime, Dodge City took the lead with a quick floater from Hill, but Independence grabbed a 63-62 advantage after a long shot by Markowska. A layup by Mikkelsen pushed the Lady Pirates' lead to three, but the Conquistadors tied it at 65-65 with 1:20 remaining after a deep three-pointer by Allie Baker.
A free throw by Dale was answered by Collyer with one of her own to tie the game at 66-66 but once again, neither team scored before the buzzer and the contest headed to a second overtime.
In the second overtime, Independence took the lead after a layup from Mikkelsen who pushed the score to 70-66 with another shot seconds later. Dodge City cut the lead to two after a shot by Ewing and then tied it after a bank shot by Nelson with 1:15 remaining.
Ewing broke free for a layup and the 72-70 advantage with 56 seconds remaining. Free throws by Pool, Ewing and Nelson pushed the lead to six and that was all she wrote as the Lady Pirates dropped the contest.
Independence (5-3, 0-1) is on the road this Saturday facing the Hutchinson Blue Dragons with tip-off set for 5:30 pm.