In the final seconds of a tight game, there’s little time for thinking through tense situations. Instead, it’s all about reaction.
Such was the case in the final 40 seconds of Friday’s girls basketball game at Andover Central. There was Andover Central junior Skyler Snodgrass’ three-pointer to give the Jaguars a one-point lead with 34 seconds to go.
Then there was Andover sophomore Kaley Hallmark’s floater in the lane with 19.1 seconds as the Trojans retook the lead, followed by teammate Jaylyn Agnew blocking a Snodgrass jumper in the final 15 seconds.
Andover defeated Andover Central 52-51 to improve to 2-1. Andover Central is also 2-1.
“I just do what my instinct tells me,” said Agnew, who had nine points, seven rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals. “I try not to foul, but if it happens, it happens. I try to do what I normally do.”
Agnew was more thrilled about Hallmark’s clutch shot in the lane.
“That was insane,” Agnew said. “ I didn’t know what to say after that. I didn’t know if they were going to count it. They were debating it.”
Hallmark had driven inside, looking for a possible foul or a shot. She got both.
“I knew they’d call the foul, so I figured I’d shoot it to see if it could count,” she said. “I just wanted to score.”
Hallmark finished with five points. Sophomore Katelyn Day had nine points, while Andover got eight points each from Sydney Tilson and Lexi Tilson, a freshman who scored six fourth-quarter points.
Hallmark’s shot “was eight feet from the basket, and it was just kind of a floater,” Andover coach Max Hamblin said. “We’ve been working on that with our guards. They’re quick, trying to get to the rim, and she does a great job.”
Andover had taken a one-point first-quarter lead, hitting 3 of 5 threes in the period. The Trojans hit 3 of 6 in the third quarter.
Andover Central had a 35-26 lead on Andover with 5:42 to go in the third quarter after Evan Stamp hit two free throws. Stamp finished with a game-high 20 points, while Snodgrass had 13.
Andover whittled it down to 41-39 after three periods on Sydney Tilson’s three-pointer and then, after giving up an early three to Stamp, went on an 11-2 run for a 50-46 lead with 2:41 to go.
Up by two in the final 2:20, Andover stalled. But Stamp got a steal and found Snodgrass, who hit the three-pointer with 34 seconds remaining.
It seemed to be Andover Central’s game at that point.
“I thought we had it, too,” Andover Central coach Stana Jefferson said. “There’s times that we get up and we just seem to get a little bit lazy on defense. Tuesday night (in a win against Salina Central) we had several leads just like tonight, and we don’t close out on their shooters, and they hit a three and they’re back in it. We have to learn to finish and finish correctly. When we get up on a team, we have to learn to take control of it.”