Posted: Saturday, 02 March 2013 5:55PM

Crane girls advance to Final Four on controversial buzzer-beater




Riley Israel hit a long, controversial 3-pointer as the time expired to knock off the Crocker Lady Lions 69-66 during Saturday’s quarterfinal matchup and sent her Crane Lady Pirates to the Class 2 State Final 4.

“When I got the ball, I saw I had one second left,” said Israel.  “All I knew was I had to get it off quickly.”

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE GAME

The final few moments of the game saw a flurry of activity.

Israel hit a pair of free throws to take a 66-64 lead with just 14.8 remaining.  Crocker would answer when Lindsay Medlen drove the length of the floor and made a highly contested layup with just over six seconds remaining.  However, Israel and her teammates didn’t panic and got the ball out of the net quickly.  Allie Haglar received the inbounds pass before sending it Israel’s way.  Israel drove it past half court and heaved a 3-pointer that found the bottom of the net.

“Actually, it felt really good when it left my hands,” said Israel.  “I just knew that ball had a good chance of going in.”

The ball did find its way through the net, however, there was a bit of controversy at the end of the game.  While Crane’s team and fans were celebrating, Crocker’s side was waving the shot off as they thought Israel didn’t get the shot off in time.  Officials would meet, with both teams holding their breath, and then one official would meet with the official scorekeeper before raising his hands signaling that the shot was good.

“I actually practiced that this morning,” said Israel.  “One of my teammates told me that as soon as I hit it but we didn’t want to cheer too much because we were waiting on the officials.”

This game seemed to have been in Crane’s hands and actually was, until the 4th quarter.  Crane held a 15-point advantage in the game, 13 during the 4th quarter.  But Crocker clawed its way back by getting to the free throw line and scoring points while no time was running off the clock.

“This makes it a second game in a row where we played a great three quarters,” said Crane coach Jeremy Mullins.  “We must learn to finish.”

Crane was led by their lone senior, Maggie McMenamy, who scored a game high 23 points.  Isreal added 15 and Emma Lander chipped in 12.

“Our first half, and most of the second half, was pretty good,” said McMenamy.  “We just broke down under pressure and were scared to make a turnover.”

Crocker could not shake Crane’s pressure all day.  The Lady Lions had 28 turnovers but did manage to outrebound Crane 25-23.

Crocker dressed seven players in Saturday’s game and two of them fouled out in the 4th quarter.  Kelsi York fouled out midway through the 4th and senior Meagan Wall did as well with just over a minute to go.

The Lady Lions were led by their three seniors in their final game of their career.  Medlen, scored 21 points, 12 of which coming in the 4th.  Briana Peterson scored 15 points while Jeanna Mendez added 12.

Crocker ends their season with a record of 27-3.

Crane improved to 28-3 and will move on to the Final 4 and play the winner of Skyline and Maysville.

“I just want to go home,” said Mullins.  “Go home, rest and come back ready to work and get ready to go north.”

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