Clinging to a four-point lead with 41.6 seconds remaining Thursday, Fort Calhoun senior basketball player Tess Skelton went to the foul line in hopes of extending the home team's lead against Logan View/Scribner-Snyder.
The strong free-throw shooter's first attempt went way left off of the rim, almost comically.
“I don't really know what was going on there,” Skelton said, laughing it off just as she had on the floor. “Right when I let go, I was like, 'Oh my God.'”
Fortunately for the fans in orange, the Pioneer guard shook it off and sunk her second free throw — and four more down the stretch — as coach Marty Plum's team started its 1-1 homestand with a 54-45 victory.
After leading throughout, FCHS assured itself it could hold off the visiting Raiders.
“I feel like we all just tell ourselves, 'This is our game,'” Skelton said, continuing her description of the Pioneers' thought process. “'We worked so hard up to this point, we can't give it to them now.'”
Plum's team didn't, claiming their fifth win of the season. It was a victory dictated by Calhoun's fast start, which resulted in a 19-10 lead after one period.
“It was very much the little things,” Calhoun sophomore Raegen Wells said. “We were trying to get the shots we wanted. We wanted to take our time and get the looks we wanted.”
Skelton contributed five of her game-high 29 during the opening quarter, while sophomore forward Bria Bench scored nine of her 10 total.
Wells notched her two points on a first-period putback, too.
“We learned from other games that we can't rush our shots,” she said. “We need to work as a team to get the shot we want.”
Dala Drowne's second-quarter layup pushed the Pioneers' advantage to 28-16 before Skelton's and-1 free throw secured a 13-point margin at the conclusion of the first half. The lead — and Skelton's free-throw shooting — played dividends late.
“(The early lead) really helped us overcome the pressure that we went through in the second half,” Wells said.
FCHS falls to Ashland
Two nights later, the Pioneers dropped a 47-32 Saturday home game to Ashland-Greenwood. FCHS fell to 5-8 in defeat, while the Bluejays improved to 5-6.
Bench scored 14 points for Calhoun, while Drowne added 11. Ashland's Alivia Pike led all scorers with 19.
Coach Plum's squad next plays 6 p.m. today at Louisville.
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