By Jordan Hansgen
STONEBORO — It became quite the tune-up contest for two playoff contenders.
In a game that looked like it was for mere bragging rights among regional rivals, Cochranton and Lakeview needed some extra time to decide things.
On Wednesday night at Lakeview High School, it was Cochranton that wound up celebrating with a 70-68 overtime win over non-region foe Lakeview.
“You couldn’t have asked for honesty a better atmosphere, big crowd,” said Cochranton head coach David Zamperini. “(Lakeview) is a really good team. Both teams battled.”
Cochranton now enters the playoffs with a 14-8 record while Lakeview fell to 17-5 before the postseason.
“I can honestly say that’s the hardest we’ve played in about two weeks,” said Lakeview head coach Gary Burke. “The effort and the desire was there from start to finish.”
Both teams traded runs, rallies and most importantly baskets all game long.
Jaidan Martinec sparked things early for the Cardinals, knocking down two 3-pointers right out of the gate. Lexie Moore added a trey as the Cardinals took a 15-13 lead after one quarter.
Lakeview locked it down throughout the second quarter and forced the Cardinals into six turnovers.
“We definitely, in runs there, beat ourselves by letting them speed us up, making passes we shouldn’t have,” Zamperini said.
Austa Reed drove the lane for two baskets and Reese Gadsby hit a trey to push Lakeview ahead 25-24 at the half.
The physicality amped up in the third with both teams getting to the line often after hard fouls. Cochranton knocked down seven free throws to Lakeview’s six.
“That’s how I want to play,” said Zamperini. “I want to press, I want to run, I want to play physical. Honestly, that’s how they let you play in the playoffs, so this was a great playoff atmosphere for us.”
“(We’re) willing to play a physical game, a hard-nosed game,” added Burke.
Lakeview recovered in the fourth quarter, forcing five more turnovers in the first few minutes to take a 8-1 run.
However, Cochranton responded with a 16-9 stretch of its own to hold a 57-54 advantage in the final minute.
Lakeview’s first tying attempt in the closing seconds was blocked. But the ball wound up in the hands of Gadsby, who composed herself and buried the tying triple to send the game to overtime.
“It’s great experience for us. We haven’t had a ton of close games coming out of our region,” said Burke.
In OT, Cochranton’s Riley Harvey took over, finding the space behind Lakeview’s zone and hitting three layups inside to push the Cardinals ahead 68-65.
“At the end we were able to make a few more buckets than them,” Zamperini said.
Moore buried the two free throws to ice the game and give the visitors the win.
“I thought we battled on both ends. Our girls really never backed down,” added Burke. “If you want to beat us, you’re going to have to work to beat us and Cochranton did.”
For Lakeview, Reed and Gadsby both scored 23 to lead the Sailors. Carlin Ligo added 12.
Cochranton was led by Martinec’s 15 points. Harvey and Moore each had 14 points. Cat Miller added 13.
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.