It took a few extra minutes, but the West Liberty girls’ basketball team earned a well-deserved first victory of the season last Friday.
They hosted the River Valley Conference’s other Comets — Bellevue. West Liberty came out as the aggressors, scoring six in the first quarter, but doubling the output in the second to take a 18-12 halftime lead.
Unbeaten Bellevue wasn’t going to lie down. They outscored the Comets 11-10 in the third quarter as the host Comets hung to a 28-23 lead.
The fourth quarter turned into an early game of the year candidate as the teams traded blows back and forth.
West Liberty had to navigating foul trouble, which saw Maelyn Wainwright foul out and the Hall sisters nursing the final quarter with four.
Neither team seemed to be able to pull away down the stretch. With a 14-point scoring output in the fourth, West Liberty mustered enough to force overtime.
The teams continued to trade buckets in the extra period, as the game remained tied 44-all with 45 seconds remaining.
Pearson Hall drove the lane and kicked to Paige Werling for three, which came up short. Undeterred by the miss, Werling followed her shot, collected the loose ball and layed up what ended up being the game winning basket with 30 ticks left on the clock.
West Liberty forced Bellevue into a bad shot with three second remaining that drifted out of bounds. A long pass on the inbound from Pearson Hall to Sophie Buysse sealed the overtime victory, which is first-year head coach Jeff Laughlin’s first with West Liberty.
Pearson Hall tallied 27 points in the outing, followed by Werling with six and Sully Hall with five.
This was the Comets’ lone win on the week as the team fell to Cascade and Easton Valley earlier on.
The season kicked off with the matchup against Cascade. The Cougars dominated the matchup from the opening tipoff, tallying a 10-2 lead after the first period and extending that lead to 22-7 heading into the halftime break.
The Comets mustered 17 points in the second half, with 16 of them coming in the fourth quarter, but were unable to overcome their halftime deficit and fell 43-24.
Lead by Pearson Hall tallying 10 points, the Comets started their season with a loss for the second consecutive season.
The Comets appeared to correct quickly on Thursday as they played host to Easton Valley. The Comets led the winless River Hawks 9-7 after a slow opening quarter.
The visitors charged back in the second quarter, outscoring the Comets 16-12 to claim the lead going into halftime.
West Liberty continued to find their stride on offense in the third quarter, outscoring Easton Valley 17-10 in the quarter to claim a 38-33.
However, the Comets were unable to defend the fourth quarter charge on their home court, being outscored 16-6 down the stretch and falling 49-44.
Pearson Hall added to her tally on the season, recording 17 points while Sophie Buysse followed behind with 13.
To find its second win of the season, West Liberty looks ahead to a pair of road matchups on Friday in Tipton and on Monday against North Cedar.
The Comets will return home next Tuesday to take on Washington.