MAU wins overtime thriller vs. Schenectady
Going down as much as nine in the early third quarter, the Lady Patriots needed a spark.
Sometimes it only takes one shot to light that spark and that was exactly what Cat Worthington's 3-point shot midway though the third quarter did.
MAU would come alive, and with it, Kates Gym came alive. By the end of regulation, the Lady Patriots would tie up the score to force overtime.
That's when MAU's seniors took over as Anna Iannotti and Kaity O'Brien scored 10 of the team's 11 overtime points to lead the Lady Patriots to a 58-52 victory. The win improves their record to 2-4 on the season.
MAU coach AJ Mahar was impressed with of the seniors efforts and has seen their play improve immensely in recent games.
"We saw them really start kicking in on Saturday and I really think that carried over today," Mahar said. "Anna was great and it's the production we need to get out of her. Kaity was great bringing the ball up the court against the pressure and getting the ball down. It's been huge to have those two chip in."
MAU was led by a strong night from Iannotti, as the senior went for a season-high 19 points in the contest, along with seven rebounds. The scoring was very balanced for the Lady Patriots as Grace Mahar (11 points), Caroline Musinski (10), Worthington (8) and O'Brien (8), all had major contributions.
Mahar was in foul trouble throughout the first half, racking up three in the first 16 minutes, so nine of her 11 points came after the halftime break.
Three-point shooting is not normally a strong suit for MAU, but Tuesday night, they found break success from behind the arc. Both Musinski and Worthington knocked down two shots from 3-point range.
With three of those four 3's coming in the second half, where MAU was fighting to stay alive, AJ Mahar was cognizant of how important those shots ended up being.
"They were huge. We struggled to shooting the ball this year and we were struggling in the first half to shoot the ball," he said. "I think when that first one went in that Caroline made, it kind of took the lid off the rim for us and it snowballed into a few more going in as well."
The Lady Patriots have sometimes had trouble closing games down the stretch. Tuesday's result has to be a promising sign for MAU in that regard, as they dominated the fourth quarter and overtime, outscoring Schenectady 24-12 in those two frames.
Schenectady had a strong night from multiple girls, with three different players scoring in double-digits. Arayana Young led the way with 19, followed by Ne Seyah Dix (18) and Jeonna Anderson (10).
The regular season has produced mixed results for MAU and that was to be expected after losing the talents of Madison Little, Brianna Legacy and Jordyn Burke. With Little, being a 1,000-point scorer during her time in Bennington.
With that in mind, Tuesday's win has to be a major confidence boost for the team, that this group can make some noise and live up to those who came before them. In the end, AJ Mahar could not have been more proud of the effort he saw from his team Tuesday.
"It was really good to see the girls compete and battle. They started lifting each other up, both verbally and emotionally," he said. "It was really fun to watch them battle through some of the let downs that we had earlier in the game to come back and get a win like that."
The Lady Patriots don't have much time to rest as they are back in action tonight against Fair Haven on the road. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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