Payton Mix hit the game-tying and go-ahead free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining in the game to give the New London girls’ basketball team a 35-34 win over the visiting Luxemburg-Casco Spartans on Tuesday, Jan. 13.
The late-game heroics by New London’s senior forward helped the Bulldogs overcome a nightmarish fourth quarter to escape with a one-point win against a Bay Conference foe.
New London held a 23-13 advantage at halftime. It appeared that the home team would cruise to an easy victory even after Luxemburg-Casco cut the score to 30-23 after three quarters of play.
The Spartans when on a 10-3 run to start the fourth quarter, tying the score at 33-33 with 4:53 left to play. Luxemburg-Casco took a 34-33 lead with 2:20 left in the game as the home team’s fans looked on in shock and disbelief.
Exasperated groans from the crowd grew louder and more frequent as the Bulldogs missed three open layups, two jump shots, and turned the ball over two times on their next seven possessions. Meanwhile, the Spartans drew fouls on the offensive end but missed their free throws, allowing New London to stay in the game.
With eight seconds left in the game, the Bulldogs inbounded the ball and drove the length of the court. Payton Mix drove to the lane and shot a layup that bounced off the backboard and spun off the front of the rim into the arms of a Luxemburg-Casco defender. Fortunately for New London, a whistle blew and a foul was called against the Spartans, sending Payton Mix to the line to shoot two free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining in the game.
After a timeout allowed both teams to talk things over, Payton Mix stepped to the line and calmly drained the first free throw to tie the game, 34-34. Knowing that another converted attempt could give her team a win, she confidently sank the second free throw and the Bulldogs took a 35-34 lead.
The Spartans inbounded the ball quickly, moved past half court, and missed a running 3-point shot that clanged off the backboard and the front of the rim as time expired.
The Bulldogs are now 6-2 in the Bay Conference, trailing Seymour (7-1) and West De Pere (7-0).