Posted: Wednesday, 27 February 2013 10:44PM

Crane girls overcome big Pierce City rally




The Crane Lady Pirates seemed to be well on their way to a comfortable Class 2 sectionals victory.

Then, Pierce City nearly pulled off a comeback for the ages.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

Crane led by 17 entering the fourth quarter, but Pierce City rallied to get within two points in the final minute. The Lady Eagles missed a potential game-tying shot near the basket in the final seconds as Crane escaped with a 57-55 victory at Republic High School on Wednesday night.

Crane plays Crocker in the quarterfinals at 2:45 p.m. Saturday at Drury’s O’Reilly Family Event Center.

“Tense. Very tense,” Crane coach Jeremy Mullins said of the final minutes in the fourth quarter.  “Pierce City is a good ballclub and we got complacent down the stretch and tense. We didn’t execute, we had some unforced turnovers. Things got tight there and it went south in a hurry for us.”

Crane made just one field goal in the fourth quarter. Krishna Merriman scored 15 of her game-high 24 in the fourth quarter to spark Pierce City’s rally. Crane helped out by committing turnover after turnover.

Following a Crane giveaway, Merriman’s layup drew Pierce City within 56-55 with less than 30 seconds remaining. Crane’s Riley Israel made one of two free throws with 6.5 seconds left to put Crane up 57-55.

Having to go the length of the court, Pierce City got an outlet pass up to Merriman near the basket. But Merriman’s contested shot wouldn’t fall, and a tie-up on the ensuing miss gave Pierce City the ball with .3 seconds left on the clock.

The Lady Eagles couldn’t get off a shot before time expired.

Mullins said there’s much his team can learn from the near loss.

“Especially at this point of the season, in a sectional game,” Mullins said. “I know it’s on the girls’ minds, it’s on everyone’s minds. You lose, you go home. It was a good learning experience for us, I think it’ll help us moving forward into the quarterfinals.”

Two free throws from Merriman cut Crane’s lead to 52-49 with about two minutes remaining. The Lady Pirates would then get four clutch free throws from sophomore reserve Loni Johnson to maintain a 56-51 advantage going into the final 1:20.

“Huge free throws,” Mullins said. “I was glad to see her step in there. She subs for our freshman post (Emma Lander) and she’s a sophomore post, so that’s a pretty big situation for her. She stepped up and knocked down four big free throws.”

Crane finished 23-for-29 at the free throw line; Pierece City was 17-for-21.

Pierce City 4 17 11 23 --- 55
Crane 9 21 19 8 --- 57

Pierce City – Krishna Merriman 24, Christine Younker 14, Emily Ashley 12, Bailey Hayward 3, Mattie Brottlund 2
Crane – Riley Israel 19, Emma Lander 11, Kylee Moore 7, Maggie McMenamy 6, Loni Johnson 6, Kylie Vaught 5, Addison Reel 2, Justine Mahan 1

Photo Galleries

Pictures: Mizzou 38, South Dakota State 18


The Tigers won their opening game of the season in front of 60,000 people.

Pictures: Strafford XC Meet


Springfield Catholic swept the team titles while Tabitha Weber and Daylan Quinn clenched individual gold medals.

Pictures: Top 100 Photos of Week 2 Football


Catch the 100 best photos from the second week of the football season.
Videos
O-Zone Opinion
Mohawk Chronicles: Week 2 Football Recap
Who were the big players from Week 2 football? What do you have to look forward to in Week 3. I cover it all here. See all of Week Two's top plays in the video above. Big Man on Campus Johnny Healy, Mountain Grove – Often...
Read More
5 Takeaways from Mizzou's win over SDSU
Mizzou opened its football season with a 38-18 win over FCS opponent South Dakota State on Saturday. Here are five things I am taking away from the first game of the season. PICTURES: MIZZOU VS. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE - CLICK HERE 1. It is a good thing...
Read More
Win or lose, 2014's the turning point for Bears' program
 The freshness of a new season offers a chance for a fresh start, hope and the promise of a better future.   And if you’ve been a Missouri State football fan or follower for any part of the past two and a half decades, you know no team...
Read More
Most Viewed