BANGOR – For the first time in school history, the Hart girls basketball team is going to the Division 3 state semifinals after defeating No. 1 ranked Buchanan 45-41 on Tuesday night at Bangor High School in the quarterfinals.
The huge win happened largely because sophomore Addi Hovey had ice water running through her veins at the free throw line.
With the game tied 41-41 and just 27.5 seconds remaining, Hovey was fouled on a jump shot. She stepped up to the free throw line and made one of two, giving Hart a 42-41 lead.
After a Buchanan over-and-back turnover, Hovey was once again fouled and downed two free throws, extending the lead to 44-41 with 12.4 seconds left.
Buchanan attempted a three-pointer but missed, and Hovey was able to gain possession before being fouled.
Her successful free throw with three seconds remaining sent the Pirates soaring into the state semifinals on Thursday at 2 p.m. against Hemlock.
“I was just thinking back to practice,” said Hovey about facing the pressure at the line. “I was so nervous. I had to remember all the shots I made and that helped me.”
The Pirates, who went into the game as clear underdogs, apparently never viewed themselves that way.
“We’re overlooked,” said Hart Coach Travis Rosema. “I believe in my team, and I thought we were number one in the state. They’re great, so no disrespect, but we had to have belief.”
“We knew we could do it,” said Hart junior Abby Hicks. “We had so much energy and everyone from our class was here tonight for us.”
That belief showed from the start as Hart hung with Buchanan and trailed just 15-11 after one quarter, behind six points from Hicks.
Hart trailed 23-19 at halftime.
“It was huge,” said Rosema about his team staying within striking distance. “But we’ve done that all year. Being down doesn’t discourage us. We’re scrappy and we’ve been in that position before.”
The Pirates made their move in the third quarter, outscoring Buchanan 11-6 to take a 30-26 lead into the fourth. Mariana VanAgtmael led the Pirates with five points in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Hart and Buchanan each scored 15 points, including Hovey’s decisive four free throws in the final minute.
Hicks finished with 17 points to lead the Pirates including eight crucial points in the fourth quarter. Hovey totaled 13 points while VanAgtmael added.
Buchanan was led by senior Faith Carson, who totaled 22 points on the night.
“I’m so proud of all 14 girls on the team,” Coach Rosema said. “They buy in every day and believe anything is possible. I just don’t think we get enough attention. People are worried about teams from the big cities.”
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