JERSEY - Jersey captured a thriller over Routt in the Lady Hawk Invitational championship in overtime 54-50 Saturday night.

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Jersey led 12-7 at the end of one, then stayed ahead 21-16 at the half, then Routt outscored the Panthers 17-13 in the third quarter to make it 34-33 Jersey at the end of three. Routt outscored the Panthers 12-11 in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime with a 45-45 tie. Jersey scored 9 points in the OT to Routt’s 5.

Bella McCartney of Routt led all scorers with 24 points. Claire Breden and Abby Manns both had 16 points to lead the Panthers. Bella Metzler had 12 points, Brooke Tuttle had 5 points, Boston Talley had 3 points and Hannah Hudson added 2 points. Annika Black had 7 points for Routt and Tori Felhauer added 6 points. Katie Abell, a 6-foot-2 senior, did not play in the title matchup because of an ankle injury. Manns scored right after the opening tip in overtime to put the Panthers in command. Jersey’s Bella Metzler then connected on a three-pointer for Jersey’s final points of the contest in overtime.

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Jersey head coach Kevin Strebel said we battled and at the same time had enough toughness to compete against the tough Routt squad and pull away with the win. Jersey also connected on 11 of 20 from the 3-point range, another key to the contest.

“It’s a tough one whenever you have a chance to make a couple free throws and don’t,” he said. “The girls did a good job finding the next player in the offense and we worked on that in practice knowing they would be in a zone. We didn’t score a ton, but our defense was stellar.”

Strebel praised his team for the Panthers' three-pointing shooting in the contest and agreed that was a key to the triumph.

Jersey enters the final weeks of the season with a 19-6 overall mark; Routt, one of the state’s top-ranked teams, falls to 23-3. The Panthers host Mascoutah on Tuesday, then travel to Highland for a game Thursday at Highland.

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