NASHVILLE — Edgewood’s Vanessa Brown was not to be denied.
Having already scored 20 points in a sectional battle with Brown County, the Mustang junior banked in a jump shot with one second remaining to give her team a 42-41 win that broke the hearts of the host Eagles.
The victory advanced Edgewood (11-10) into today’s sectional finals against Greencastle.
With six minutes remaining in the game, Brown scored and was fouled. She made her free throw to give Edgewood a 32-31 lead. Brown County (11-10) senior Sasha Robinson responded on the next possession, making two free throws of her own, to give the Eagles the lead back at 33-32.
Robinson’s free throws started a 10-2 run that gave the Eagles a seven-point lead with two minutes remaining.
“We got nervous,” said Brown County junior Whitney Williamson, who scored 20 points. “I think we relaxed a little because we felt like we had it under control.”
A pair of quick baskets from Edgewood freshman Erin Sherfield cut Brown County’s lead to three with 11.8 seconds remaining. A steal and a foul enabled Vanessa Brown to hit two free throws, pulling her team within one point with nine seconds remaining.
Following a Brown County timeout, with the Eagles clinging to a 41-40 lead, Brown County tipped an inbounds pass out of bounds, giving Edgewood possession under its own basket with 6.6 seconds left in the game. The inbounds came to Brown, who worked into the lane, banking in a shot as the clock expired for the victory.
“We had three or four mistakes that unfortunately happened together at the wrong time,” said Brown County coach Mike Harmon. “The one thing you can’t practice is how hard the other team is going to play. Edgwood expects to win and they showed that in the last three minutes tonight.”
The game was competitive from the opening tip, with Brown County (11-10) striking early. A pair of early three pointers from Eagle juniors Rebecca Wedan and Williamson helped give Brown County a 10-8 lead after the first quarter. Despite being outrebounded by Edgewood throughout the game, Brown County continued to play aggressive defense and maintained a lead through three quarters, and entered the final period leading 31-26.
The Eagles were outscored 16-10 in the fourth quarter as the victory slipped away.
“You have to make plays. You have to make free throws. You have to get the ball inbounds,” said Harmon. “We lead the whole game and a combination of mistakes cost us the win. Edgewood is a young and strong team. You can’t make those mistakes and expect to win.”
Robinson, who will head to University of Evansville next year to play basketball for the Purple Aces, scored 14 points. “Every possession, we tried to do what we could,” said an emotional Robinson. “They ended up with the win.”
Edgewood and Greencastle will meet for the Class 3A sectional championship tonight at Brown County High School. Tip-off time is 7:30 p.m.