Lady Tigers see lead evaporate, season end with loss to Louisville

Good fortune was not on the side of the Falls City High Lady Tigers’ basketball team last Tuesday in the Class C1-1 sub-district in Johnson.

Louisville defeated the Lady Tigers 49-37 at Johnson and went on to defeat Syracuse, 48-45, in Thursday’s sub-district final. The Lions (11-12) and Lincoln Christian (16-9) will square off Friday night at Nebraska Wesleyan.

Louisville, a team that during one stretch this season went 6-for-46 at the free-throw line, knocked down 17-of-21 fourth-quarter free throws and benefited from a few questionable calls, most notably a 10-second backcourt violation against the Lady Tigers.  FC inbounded the ball with less than 27 seconds left in the third quarter and were whistled for the violation with 19 tics left on the clock – (Ed. note: You do the math). All told, the Lions outscored FC 27-10 in the final eight minutes to pull away.

“They put more pressure on us and we didn’t handle it well,” Tiger coach Max Milam said of the fourth. “We did not show enough patience on offense and took some poor shots.”

FC trailed by two at the end of the first, but six-straight points from FC junior Madison Olberding sparked a 14-5 run in the second and the Lady Tigers held on to the lead until the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Olberding led FC with nine points and 11 rebounds.

“We toughened up and came back strong midway through the first quarter and through the second,” Milam said. “In the third, we had a seven-point lead and had two possessions with really good looks, but could not get a shot to fall. I felt that we could have taken control of the game with a couple more baskets at that time.”

A pair of free throws from LHS junior Paige Higginbotham with 3:41 on the clock put her team ahead for good and started the run at the charity stripe for the Lions, who went on to score 15 of their final 17 points of the ballgame at the line.

Seniors Claire Poppe and Tressa Chandler scored eight and seven, respectively, in their final games for FC. Chandler also grabbed eight boards and Poppe handed out seven assists. Poppe, who finished with a FC single-season record 49 three-pointers this winter, could not get it going against LHS and finished 0-for-9 behind the arc.

Worth noting, Poppe’s 297 points this season ranks fifth for a single season and she finished her career with 115 steals (9th all-time), 156 assists (6th) and 71 threes (3rd), while Chandler finished in 8th with 364 career rebounds.

“This was a great group to coach,” Milam said of the 2012-13 Lady Tigers who finished with a record of 12-13. “They gave 100 percent both in practice and games. I would like to thank the seniors Claire, Tressa and Elizabeth Eickhoff for their leadership on and off the courts this year.”

Scoring vs. Louisville
FC – Scheitel, 4; Olberding, 9; Poppe, 8; Armbruster, 5; Vrtiska, 4; Chandler, 7.
LHS – Holl, 6; Higginbotham, 6; Derby, 2; Marcoe, 2; Lane, 12; Novotny, 8; Ditterner, 13.

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