Simpson’s buzzer beater guides Wildcats past Silex

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES — Wright City players, from left, Emma Wegerzyn, Emily Schanuel and Jasmine Simpson, celebrate after Simpson hit a buzzer beater to defeat Silex 49-47 in game that was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than four during the second half. Bill Barrett Photos.
Derrick Forsythe
Record Staff Writer

It was perhaps one of the most exciting finishes for the Wright City girls basketball team in quite some time.

As Jasmine Simpson drained the game-winning shot, a 49-47 victory was sealed and celebration ensued in front of a home crowd during Courtwarming on Friday.

The Wildcats survived an intense final seven seconds against Silex that saw the lead change twice at the free-throw line. A turnover by the opponent afforded Wright City another opportunity on a sideline inbounds with no timeouts remaining and 2.5 seconds left to play in a tied game.

“We got it into her, and she hit one at the buzzer to win it,” said Coach Dan Friedel. “It was exciting for us and good for us to win a close game.”

The triumph lifted Wright City to its seventh win on the season but was significant in the nature of the victory.

“We’ve been able to win games this year, but this was kind of our first game with real scoreboard pressure down the stretch that we were able to come out on the right side of,” said Friedel.

It’s been a gradual progression for the Wildcats, who have fought to the buzzer only to face defeat in many situations.

“They’ve been improving all year, but that doesn’t always equate to wins,” said Friedel. “I do think we’re starting to improve at a faster rate. Over the last couple weeks there’s been a different atmosphere.”

This time Wright City was able to compete from start to finish, adjusting to what the opponent presented.

“We came out and were able to score in transition quite a bit,” said Friedel. “They played full court man-to-man the entire first half and dropped back into a zone during the second half. Sometimes we struggle in the halfcourt, so being able to play in transition was good for us.”

After one period of play the Wildcats led 14-12.

“In the first half we struggled with offensive rebounding,” said Friedel.

Wright City remained in control 22-20 at half, picking up the effort on the glass during the final two quarters.

“In the second half we started rebounding better,” said Friedel. “We were still able to score in transition, although we turned the ball over a few times.”

During that time the lead never stretched beyond four points on either side.

The Wildcats trailed by one after a Silex free throw with seven seconds remaining. Simpson was fouled and converted on one of her free throws to notch the game at 47.

On the next possession, the Owls turned the ball over, with Wright City being awarded a sideline inbounds.

It was Simpson’s chance to put Silex away for good.

“Over the last few weeks we’ve gotten better in these close games,” said Friedel, who took over the program at the beginning of this year. He says he didn’t bother to look back at the struggling history of the program.

“We’re trying to forget about what it was and think about what we want it to be,” said Friedel. “We’re just trying to look forward and keep getting better every day.”

Kelsey Capstick scored a game-high 20 points for the Wildcats, while Simpson finished with nine points.


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