EPHRATA — Connell sophomore Madison Smith scored eight of her game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter and the Eagles made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 25 seconds to hold off Ephrata 36-31 in Tuesday’s nonleague girls game in The Jungle.
Smith, a 5-foot-9 point guard, scored all but 10 to the Eagles total points but most of those came from the free-throw line where she was 12 of 16.
“Everything is new this season, our offensive scheme, our defensive scheme, and we’re just trying to get in a rhythm,” first-year head coach Dale Hagy said. “We did quite a bit this summer, but we’re struggling a little bit getting used to it.”
Too much thinking and not enough playing, Hagy said. But the Tigers (1-3) did chip away at a 20-13 deficit in the first half and close and make it a three-point gap in the third quarter.
“I’d like to see us driving to the basket more and drawing the fouls,” Hagy said. “We can score a lot from the free-throw line and get them in foul trouble at the same time.”
The Eagles (1-2) held a 28-26 lead going into the final two minutes and just couldn’t seem to shake the pesky Tigers, who closed to 32-30 on Mya Buchert’s free throws with 29 seconds remaining.
But Connell made free throws down the stretch to win its first game of the season. Payton Hagy had a team-high 10 points and Mya Buchert finished up with nine.
Ephrata hosts Wapato on Friday.
C — 8 12 4 12 36
E — 7 8 6 10 31
Connell - Mattie Mauseth 5, Joy Thompson 2,Madison Smith 26, Kiana Holst 2, Makala Specht 1. Totals: 9 11-14 36
Ephrata - Payton Hagy 10, Kendall Kemp 5, Mya Buchert 9, Isabel Buchert 5, Sydnee Pixlee 2. Totals: 7 11-19 31