In a battle of two of the best girls basketball teams in Class 4A, Salmen handed Edna Karr its first loss of the season with a 47-44 overtime victory on Monday.
The No. 5 team in the Advocate Super 10, Salmen (11-3) was led by Kayla Sibley’s 17 points and 13 points from Kalani Brown. Arianna Cooks also had 12 points in the win.
The No. 2 team in the Advocate Super 10 poll, Karr (13-1) was led by Rehema Franklin’s game-high 19 points and 12 points from Imani Mulmore.
“Karr is a big-time basketball team, and they are very aggressive,” Spartans coach Kevin Anderson said. “We met the challenge today and were fortunate enough to come away victorious. We switched to a box-and-one defense late in the game and it helped us. It helped us slow down their super fast players and it messed up their game plan a little bit.
“We have been going through some struggles as of late, but I learned that our team is full of fighters and they will not give up. They will fight through the entire game.”
Holding Karr to only two field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime combined, a free throw by Cooks with 39 seconds left in overtime gave the Spartans the lead for good at 42-41.
“Two field goals in the final nine minutes was the difference in the game,” Cougars coach Jessica Barber said. “We got shots all night long. We just couldn’t convert. That falls on me. We are going to hit the gym and come up with a better game plan.”
On the ensuing possession, Tiara Warren’s steal and subsequent 3-point play pushed the lead up to 44-41.
“We needed it, and I had to get my team up,” Warren said of the steal. “Everyone on this team makes plays, and at that point in the game, it was my turn to do my job. That’s what I did. It was just me and the goal after the steal.”
Tied 33-33 after three quarters, Salmen held Karr to a single field goal for the entire quarter and held a 39-36 lead with 3:52 left. However, Karr would hold Salmen scoreless for the rest of the third quarter and three free throws by Mulmore tied the game 39-39, forcing the extra period.
The Cougars had a chance to win it in regulation, but Paige Williams’ 3-pointer was off the mark.
A back-and-forth first half which saw Salmen break out to an early 7-1 lead, Edna Karr answered with a 7-1 run to take a 8-7 lead with 3:34 to go in the opening quarter. Down 9-8 late in the first quarter, Franklin scored the nine next points for the Cougars, triggering a 9-4 run to take a 15-13 lead.
Edna Karr held the lead until the final minute of the first quarter before a bucket by Cooks sent Salmen into the locker room with a 26-25 advantage.
Defensively, Karr held Salmen’s best player and Baylor signee Kalani Brown to only seven first-half points.