For Parkside basketball fans, this game had just about everything you would want. Considering the game lasted all the way until triple overtime to be decided, how couldn’t it? This intense GLVC conference game for the women’s basketball team was against the Missouri S&T Miners. The Miners came in with a solid 14-3 overall record, and had an 8-1 record within the GLVC. On paper, the teams match up very well. On the court, I say they did one better by putting on a spectacle for those in attendance at DeSimone Gymnasium. In the end, Parkside left triple overtime with an 80-77 victory of Missouri S&T.
“It was just going to come down to the wire and who was going to be the tougher team,” stated head coach Jenny Kenesie. “We’re just fortunate to come out on top because S&T is tough! They are really good. They’re deep, and they’re well coached.”
If I entirely wrote this article as it pertained to scoring and highlights I would be leaving a giant elephant in the room by way of this game’s officiating. In many ways, I felt this game was going to come down to the way the game had been officiated much more than the effort the two teams put on the floor. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case as the game evolved. Still, there are many negatives that need to be accounted for.
The officiating of the game was headed south very early on in the contest. Shortly after a back and forth with the Parkside coaching staff over a debatable call, an official singled out a fan, who took an exception towards the lack of a foul being called, and threatened that he should be removed if he is heard from again during the game.
As for on court problems, a stretch of fouls in the second half saw Parkside reach up to ten fouls before Missouri S&T finally was charged their first of the half. The foul was received to a tremendous and sarcastic cheer from the crowd. Still, the relevance of this stretch is simple enough. In the second half, Missouri S&T only went 6-25 from the field, but shot 18-20 from the free throw line to keep them in the game. Fouls were not being called on an even playing field, and, when games are run in this manner, the officiating is what dictates the game, not the players. I have a tremendous deal of respect for what our game officials do, considering how fast the game can be all while never having a happy camper at what is being called. The bottom line is that the rules are what they are. They need to be enforced, and enforced appropriately. Tonight’s game was nearly overshadowed by something that should never be the problem, but the good news is that I used the word nearly.
“It’s rough to play a game and see the fouls at ten to zero and things, but you have to play through those things. You really do,” said coach Kenesie. “We were able to communicate with the refs, and talk through things.”
This was a very defensive minded game all the way through triple overtime. Parkside, with sixty-seven shots, went 47.8% shooting from the field in the game. Missouri S&T put up sixty-eight shots from the field, posting a 35.3% shooting percentage. Both teams played a very similar style, as both strove for high percentage points they could get under the basket. The defensive response was to force the offense back on the perimeter and force tough passes down low.
The game was nearing one minute left in the second half, when junior Jadee Rooney hit a long three to put Parkside up by four points. Missouri S&T’s response: get to the line, and generate a turnover. With seconds left, and Parkside’s Jadee Rooney and Kaitlyn Bettiga completely covered, the late inbound came out to Kristen Ruchti who turned the ball over to Missouri S&T, who would hit a lay up right off the turnover. Regulation ended in a 54-54 dead lock.
The first overtime was back and forth, led by Missouri S&T who won the opening tip. With time all the way down to 4.0 on the clock, Jadee Rooney’s hard drive to the net generated a foul that gave her a chance to tie, and then take the lead for Parkside. She hit the first free throw, but missed the second free throw that could have iced the game after one overtime period. The second overtime began with a 60-60 draw, and its lone highlight goes to senior center Brittany Hogen. After a missed Parkside shot, Missouri S&T fumbled the rebound. Rather than to step out and give Parkside the ball back and a full shot clock, the S&T player tossed it right to Hogen under the basket. Hogen went on to get the shot and draw a foul, changing the momentum of that overtime.
Not being able to get anywhere on their final possessions of the second overtime, the third overtime finally saw a victor. Parkside’s women’s basketball team, through the foul difficulties and physical play against Missouri S&T, came out on top after edging away from a one point lead. The play that capped it went to point guard Kaitlyn Bettiga, who tied up the ball and awarded Parkside possession upon it being called for a jump ball. The game finally ended by the score of 80-77.
“I just think tonight showed some real toughness from our kids,” exclaimed coach Kenesie. “It has been something in the past where we put our heads down, been frustrated, and let [fouls] get to us. I don’t think we did that tonight, and it made a huge difference. If we allowed that to get to us, we would have lost that game by double digits.”
Coming up huge in this quite epic match up was Kristen Ruchti, who posted a game high twenty-three points to go with five rebounds and one steal. Parkside’s game is to set up shop in high percentage areas, and Ruchti’s 10-12 night from the field speaks to just that.
The women’s basketball team next plays against the Maryville University Saints. This Great Lakes Valley Conference match up will take place at DeSimone Gymnasium this Saturday afternoon at 1pm. The Saints will come marching in with an 8-9 overall record, and a 3-6 record within the GLVC.