M-W Crusaders top Valley Central in OT, await OCIAA playoff seeding
Photos by William DimmitSurrounded: Caroline Helbeck (#11) comes down with a big rebound in the second half of the game.
MONTGOMERY — On Tuesday night, Feb. 20, the Crusaders traveled to Valley Central High School to take on the Vikings. The Crusaders entered the game with a 9-9 record. With the playoffs just around the corner, they were looking for a signature win to get them ready to defend their Section 9 Title. The Vikings got off to a five-point first quarter lead with a very tough full-court press against the Crusaders. In the second quarter, the Crusaders cut into the Vikings' lead as they began to solve the Valley Central press. Toni Neely hit two of her three three-point shots in the first half to keep the Crusaders close. The Vikings took a 20-17 lead as they headed into the locker room. In the third quarter, the Crusaders finally caught the Vikings and the lead began to swing back and fourth as the two teams battled to pull away. The fourth quarter started with the Vikings up 31-30. In the most exciting eight minutes the Crusaders have played this year, Jamie Waldron scored six points, Neely hit a big three and Caroline Helbeck stepped to the line and knocked down two key free throws as the two teams ended regulation tied at 42. In the four-minute overtime, Waldron continued her second half onslaught, scoring four of her game-high 19 points, Neely put in two more free throws and the Crusaders got their signature victory as they head into the playoffs. The Crusaders' 49-47 victory brings their record to 10-9 on the season and 5-3 in OCIAA Division 1 play. The Crusaders will have to wait until Thursday night's OCIAA meeting to find out where they are seeded and who their next opponent will be. - William Dimmit