By Brian Besch
The Onalaska Lady Cats made a few clutch jumpers near the end of Friday night’s challenge in Coldspring to defeat the Lady Trojans 50-48.
Kenadi Houser drilled a 3-pointer to put Onalaska up 48-46 with just 24 seconds to play. Two successful free throws by Coldspring’s Brianna Shaw-Rucker tied it at 48 with 20 seconds left. Houser hit another jumper to put the Lady Cats up two again and the Onalaska defense held off a last-second shot to win it.
“Finally, right? That right there – the passion and togetherness and the fact that I could put anybody on the floor even with 48 seconds and sub a senior on, that is what team is about,” Onalaska coach Ashley Sustaita said. “I knew it was inside of them all year. I hate it for the seniors that it has taken this long to get there. There is a reason why we were picked first in the district. I think they were just scared of it, but I am glad that they found it because basketball is more about life. If you know how to fight through adversity like that, they are going to be so much more successful in life. I am just super proud of them.”
For a season that has not gone the way Onalaska would like, Friday was an emotional win. They are currently in sixth place in District 23-3A.
Two seniors led the way for the team, as Kylie Sisk had 18 points and Houser had 14. Sophomore Katie Boyce added eight.
“(Sisk) put her head down and (Houser) put her head down and just did what they needed to do. (Houser) is actually a post and handled the ball for me. (Sisk) did what she needed to do as far as attacking and calming everybody down and being a leader on the floor. It has been in them all year, it has just been getting it out of them. It was kind of nice for somebody else to step up. There has been so much pressure on Kylie for four years to be the one that gets the ball in the last 15 seconds. I know that she appreciates everybody else stepping up to her level on that occasion. It just makes it so much better.”
Shaw-Rucker of Coldspring led her team with 14 points, while A’Lyvia Jackson had 11.
“We were the problem. I thought we were more beating ourselves tonight than the other team,” Coldspring coach Thaddeus Gordon said. “They came and they fought hard, and we fought hard and it was a good game. I don’t take anything away from (Onalaska); they did good. I think Ikira Byrd, she did a pretty good job, but she got into foul trouble. When she was out of the game, it kind of hurt us.”
The Lady Trojans are in fourth place and trying to hang on to a playoff spot. They will next play Trinity, while Onalaska will host Trinity Friday.