Percentages: FG .462, FT .364, 3-Pointer: 1-6 (Millikan 1-2, Tabor 0-4). Team Rebounds: 4.
Maria Leichty Sports Editor
WESTFIELD - Seven of Westfield's girls basketball games have come down to five points or less. The Rocks have lost five of them, with two being lost in overtime.
Similar to the other games, the Westfield versus New Castle game Wednesday came down to the last shot, but became their fifth last-minute loss, 41-36.
The Trojans had a nine-point lead with two minutes left. Westfield put on their press, got two 3-pointers from Ryann Bunting and two key rebounds to bring them within three points.
Westfield put up four futile shots before the buzzer, the last one rolling in and out with just six seconds left on the clock.
The 36-39 game became 36-41 after New Castle made their first free throws of the quarter in the last few seconds. Three missed free throws earlier gave Westfield more opportunities to tie it up, but the Rock offense couldn't find the net.
A tight-called game combined with a star Trojan sophomore gave New Castle the advantage they needed.
Cameron Tabor was New Castle's offensive stud. She scored 12 of their 14 fourth quarter points. She drove, put on a few moves and shot either a floater or layup - baffling the Westfield defense.
Tabor ended with over half their points. She averages 16.8 points per game.
"Bottom line, the kid can score," Rock head coach Ginny Smith said. "[Morgan] Clary is a good defender. The way the game was called early - as tight as it was called - that changes a lot."
There were four fouls called in the first two minutes of the game and Tabor kept attacking.
"We're aggressive," Smith added. "We're going to get up and put a lot of pressure on the basketball. When it's called that tight, it makes it difficult and you become hesitant."
Tabor aside, Smith said what they lack is that kind of consistency.
"Here's the difference between all these close games we continue to get ourselves into and yet we don't come out ahead . . . we don't have a go-to kid," she said. "Everybody who manages to beat us in close games has somebody they can get the ball to that they can count on."
The Trojans used runs in the second and fourth quarter to gain nine and 10-point leads before Westfield found their way back in the game. The third quarter started with six turnovers before a basket - both teams scored six points total.
Westfield's Ryann Bunting was in the spotlight for the Rocks. After two '3's in the first quarter, tying the game . . . Bunting drove in for a basket at the end of the first half. Another layup in the third was followed by her two '3's in the fourth. She finished shooting .500, going 4-for-7 from the 3-point line and scoring 16 points.
"My kids play hard." Smith said. "Nine times out of 10 I'm proud of their effort, it just doesn't always come together how we'd like it for it to."
Westfield falls to 6-13 on the season. They face Brownsburg Saturday, who is just one spot below them in Hoosier Crossroad standings.