CHARLESTON -- It started early. The Charleston girls’ basketball team missed five layups in the first quarter and the Lady Trojans only scored 18 points in the first half because they weren’t able to make plays.
Charleston picked it up in the third quarter with 21 points and had 41 points in the second half. But the inability to make plays caught up to Charleston again.
With the game tied at 57, Charleston had a chance to get the go-ahead bucket with about 6 seconds left, but Hope Griffin’s layup rolled off. Bernie Jackson got the offensive rebound, but her shot was short. Kaitlyn Coffey got the rebound and put the shot up at the buzzer.
The shot was pushed left and rolled off and the game against Effingham went into overtime.
Effingham controlled the extra period as Charleston missed its chance at the end of the regulation as the Flaming Hearts picked up a 71-61 Apollo Conference win.
“We didn’t make plays. We didn’t make plays in the first half, I don’t know how many missed layups in the first quarter,” Charleston coach Jeff Miller said. “Defensively, I thought we did a fairly solid job. You don’t knock down those point-blank shots against a team like Effingham, you are probably not going to have much success.”
Effingham (25-2) is in the driver’s seat for the Apollo Conference title with a 10-1 record and faces Lincoln on Thursday.
Charleston (21-2, 10-2) did have three good looks at the basket at the end of regulation, Miller said.
“That’s the Apollo Conference right there. For whatever, that was the story of the night, missing those point-blank shots,” Miller said. “Contested or not, you still have to knock down some of those shots.”
Shae Littleford led Charleston with 16 points and Hope Griffin scored 14 points. Paige Swango hit three three-pointers giving her 12 points and she set the single season record for three’s in a season in Charleston girls’ basketball history.
She now has 78 three-pointers on the year.
“Good for her. She would rather take the win than that accolade anyday,” Miller said. “I am proud of her for that fact that she wants to win. It’s all about winning with these girls.”
Carsyn Fearday and Abby Weis each had 21 points and Miranda Fox had 15 points.
Effingham had a 9-8 lead after the first and the Flaming Hearts got some breathing room with three-pointers from Weis and Natalie Curie to make it 15-8. The Flaming Hearts lead reached 10 points with about 2 minutes to go as Charleston turned the ball over five times in the second quarter. Effingham went into the half with a 23-16 lead.
Charleston started the third quarter on an 8-0 run as Littleford had four points and Kaitlyn Coffey had the other four points to give the Lady Trojans a 24-23 lead.
Effingham came back with back-to-back three-pointers from Fox and Weis to go back up 29-24.
Later in the second half, Charleston went on a 6-0 run with buckets from Littleford, Coffey and Griffin to go up 36-33. Weis hit a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to tie the game at 38 going into the fourth quarter.
“We made some adjustments at halftime and we executed the second-half gameplan,” Miller said. “We wanted to pick up the pace a bit and we did.”
Effingham went on a 6-0 run early in the fourth quarter to take a 44-40 with 4:30 to go. The Flaming Hearts held onto a 57-52 lead when Swango hit a three and then Charleston got a turnover and tied it on a jumper by Griffin.
Then Effingham turned it over, but Charleston couldn’t get the three shots to fall as the game went into overtime tied at 57.
A three-point play by Fearday and two free throws by Shelby Myers put Effingham up 64-59. Effingham held onto the lead for the 71-61 win.
“I liked the girls effort, but when you don’t make plays down the stretch, that’s the bottom line,” Miller said. “We didn’t execute the way we normally execute. You know what, the loss hurts, but I think we just became a better team because of that.”
Charleston scored 22 points in the second quarter and pulled away in the junior varsity game for a 45-25 win. Sarah Flight and Regan Bollant each had nine points for Charleston.