The Noblesville Lady Millers and Martinsville Artesians entered the fourth quarter deadlocked at 50 Saturday afternoon at The Mill.

Noblesville welcomed the pressure.

Junior guard Maddie Knight opened the quarter with a 3-pointer, and the Millers made their free throws pull away for a 78-71 victory.
The Millers hit 21-of-25 free throws in the final quarter — the clinic started with just under seven minutes on the clock and the Millers leading 53-50.

Martinsville head coach Vince Cerbone was called for a technical foul for arguing a foul, and Noblesville’s Mallory Johnson hit both the free throws. Since Noblesville was in the bonus, she was also awarded a one-and-one situation. She hit the first and missed the second, giving Noblesville a 56-50 lead.

Baskets by Knight and Emily Kiser pushed the Millers’ lead to 60-52 with 5:50 to play. Those would be the final field goals Noblesville needed, as the Millers’ final 18 points came at the charity stripe.

“We stepped up and hit our free throws,” Noblesville coach Donna Buckley said. “That is really good, because we did not rebound well at all. Knight hit a bunch of free throws, and (Abby) Haley hit a big one in the fourth.”

Noblesville pushed the lead to nine, 63-54, with 4:45 to play, but Martinsville made one more surge to keep the game interesting. The Artesians cut it to four points, 63-59, on a 3-pointer by Meredith Deckard.

“Our girls were able to maintain their composure to get it close again in the fourth,” Cerbone said. “We had a lot of offensive rebounds in the fourth to give ourselves more opportunities to score. But, when it came down to it, Noblesville hit their free throws. That was an incredible display of free throw shooting by them in that fourth quarter.”

The Michigan-bound Kiser led the Millers with 31 points, hitting 16-of-17 at the foul line, and Knight added 26 points, knocking down 11-of-14 free throws.

“Knight had several big plays out there,” Buckley said. “It is nice when our ball handlers can help out with the scoring like that.”

Both coaches pointed to Kiser as having the play of the game. With the Millers clinging to a 68-66 lead with 1:45 to play, and Kiser sitting on four fouls, she blocked a layup attempt by Kayana Taylor. The ball went out of bounds, forcing Martinsville to inbound.

“That was a huge possession, and the officials had started calling the game very tight,” Buckley said. “Kiser had four fouls, but she made that incredible block. It was clean, but it was such a big play because it makes them take the ball out of bounds and allows us to reset our defense.”

“Kiser is a legit (Division I) recruit,” Cerbone said. “And to be able to make that kind of play with four fouls, that is big-time. I mean, if we make that layup, it is a tie game.”

One area Buckley was not pleased with was the rebounding disparity. Martinsville out rebounded the Millers 42-31. The Artesians collected 23 offensive boards.

The Millers (13-7) stretch their win streak to six and will look to make it seven in a row Thursday at Pendleton Heights.