NORTH VERNON — The Jennings County girls basketball team continued to take another big step Friday as it beat Jeffersonville 46-41 in overtime.
The Panthers didn’t win a game last season but raised their record to 3-1 overall and to 1-0 in the Hoosier Hills Conference.
Free throws proved to be the deciding factor as the Panthers outscored the Devils by 17 points from the line, including five key free throws during the overtime period.
The determined Panthers seemed to be on a mission. “We played to hang in and win,” said Jennings County coach Carrie Manowitz. “These girls worked a lot of hours over summer for situations like this.”
With six seconds left in regulation, Jeffersonville freshman Taylor Sykes hit a jumper in the lane to tie the game at 41 points each. Aggressive defense from Jeffersonville held Jennings County as time expired, sending the game into overtime.
Jennings County sophomore Baylee Krueger went 3 out of 4 from the line in overtime, and Panthers senior Kirsten Biggs added two more free throws to put the game away for Jennings County.
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“We’re still a young team, but we have a lot of potential,” said Manowitz. “The girls refuse to back down. They’ve been committed to getting stronger. We have a ways to go, but tonight was much better.”
Senior guard Kirsten Biggs led Jennings County with 19 points.
“We just play hard, listen to the coaches, and keep our heads in the game,” Biggs said. “This feels amazing. We haven’t won a conference game in a while.”
Sophomore Baylee Krueger added 8 points, including going 3 of 4 from the free-throw line in overtime to secure the win. “It was a ton of pressure, but it helps knowing my team was behind me no matter what,” said Krueger. “The first time to the line, when the second shot went in, I felt better because I knew we were in control.”
“We’ve been telling these girls for the past few years they were a good team and just needed experience,” said Manowitz. “They showed it tonight.”
Next up for the Panthers is a home game against Waldron on Tuesday.