Girls Basketball: Bartlett edges Loyola in OT to win Class 4A third-place trophyBartlett's Lisa Palmer (41 left) hugs Bartlett's Janessa Baker (14) after winning the IHSA Class 4A Third-Place game on Saturday, March 3, 2012 in Normal. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 3, 2012 11:21PM
Bartlett senior Lisa Palmer said that her team shoots 50 or 60 free throws at every practice.
All of those countless and thankless hours practicing at the stripe paid off in Saturday’s Class 4A third-place game against Loyola at Redbird Arena in Normal.
With the score tied at 59-59 in overtime, Palmer drilled a pair of free throws with one second on the clock to give the Hawks the third place trophy with a 61-59 win, their first since finishing second in Class AA in 2005.
On the season, Palmer hit only 44 of 80 from the line.
“We have a lot of practice hitting big shots,” Palmer said. “We’re always practicing people trying to get into our heads. I just went up there and took a deep breath and sank them like practice.”
Palmer wasn’t the only Bartlett player to hit big shots in the win. After squandering a 7-0 lead to start the game, Bartlett (32-2) only led three more times in regulation, all by one point. But three free throws from Indiana-bound senior Haley Videckis with 25 seconds left in the fourth and a three-pointer from Kristin Conniff with 10 seconds left helped Bartlett force overtime. A three-pointer at the buzzer from Loyola’s Anna Schueler rimmed out.
“Haley told me that she was going to be guarded really well, so she told me to go out and run her spot,” Conniff said. “One of my teammates set a good pick for me and I just curled and took the shot.”
Loyola (26-9) survived Bartlett’s opening 7-0 stretch and took a 20-18 lead into the half. Then in the third, the Ramblers took their largest lead of the game — six points — behind eight points from leading scorer Michelle Ricolcol (17 points).
“I took a couple of drives, shot some open shots and was really confident with the ball,” Ricolcol said.
But Bartlett finished the third quarter off with a flurry to get back into the game. The Hawks had what was essentially a six-point possession to tie the game at 37-37.
Palmer hit a free throw, Videckis hit a shot off a rebound and Conniff finished the flurry with a three-pointer, all with the ball never leaving Bartlett’s side of the court.
“I looked at my coaches and said that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a six-point possession,” Loyola coach Jeremy Schoenecker said. “That obviously turned the tide a bit there.”
Conniff led Bartlett with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field. After being held scoreless in the first half, Videckis wound up with 15 points and Palmer tallied 14 points and 16 rebounds.
“I’m proud of the way these kids played,” Bartlett coach Denise Sarna said. “It’s kind of been the way our team has been this year. It’s a great finish. Each and every one of them made contributions. We talk about how good we are when we come together as a team.”