After converting one field goal from the floor in the fourth quarter, the Moline girls' basketball team was able to find success another way to pull out an upset victory over United Township.|
The other way was at the free-throw line as Moline (10-19, 3-7 in the Western Big 6) defeated the Panthers 39-36 at Wharton Field House on the Maroons' senior night to avenge its35-26 loss at UT in January.
Senior Emily Knight was the savior for the Maroons. Knight knocked down 7-of-8 at the charity stripe in the fourth put the game just out of reach of the surging Panthers (18-12, 7-3 Big 6).
"I just knew those were clutch free throws," Knight said. "I had to take a deep breath and make them. If didn't make them, it would have been a different game."
The Panthers threatened early in the final quarter. After a basket by Moline's Morgan Gerard started the fourth period, UT went on 6-0 run to close the gap to 32-28.
That's where Knight's night began as she went 1-for-2 in her first trip to the line. Following the miss, she was perfect at the line.
UT's Jamie and Jen VanWatermeulen scored five points between the free throws to make it 36-33.
Knight's final two free shots gave Moline a five-point lead. Tayler Dobrinske laid one in and was fouled. Dobrinske made the free throw to make it 38-36. Kristina Bozickovic's free throw was the final tally for Moline. The Panthers couldn't convert after that on three attempts.
Knight ended the game with 10 points. Gerard grabbed six rebounds and led Moline with 13 points.
"I knew from the tip we weren't focused enough to play," UT coach Justin Shiltz said. "We played hard, but we've got to play smart. You've got to play disciplined and play what the scouting report dictates, and we didn't really do any of that the first three quarters. Despite that, we were still in the game."
The shooting was less than spectacular all evening. UT shot 27 percent (13-for-48), and Moline shot 31 percent (12-for-39) from the field.
"The girls wanted to come in and finish with a great memory," Moline coach Steve Ford said. "Outstanding effort from all of them. We've had some tough losses of late, and in the timeout we said, 'We're not letting this happen again.' Emily stepped up and shot with great confidence at the line when we needed it, and we pulled out the win."
The Panthers held brief leads at the beginning of the first and second halves, but couldn't pull out to more than a three-point lead in the game. Jen VanWatermeulen led UT with nine points with twin sister Jamie not far behind with six.
"If we would have played harder the first three quarters it may have been a different basketball game," UT coach Justin Shiltz said. "We just didn't play very well. We were very unfocused and I don't know why, but we'll take the credit for that as the coaches."
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