It was one of the games in the Cross County Conference that the Bethel girls’ basketball team knew that had to get. Thanks to a balanced attack, the Bees survived for the tough road victory.
Alaina Hawthorn scored 14 points to lead the Bees, including four in overtime where the Bees escaped Tri County North with a 56-53 victory. It was a game that saw North jump out to a nine-point lead in the second half, only to see the Bees battle back and the two teams battled in the final two minutes of regulation in a classic finish.
Hawthorn had plenty of help in this win, as Becky Schweiterman and Kayla Grable each added 12 for the Bees. Tri County North freshman Aubrey Stupp led all scorers with 17 points in the loss.
The game had a slow start as the Bees led 4-3 over two minute into the game. Then a run of four consecutive threes, two from Grable, gave Bethel a 10-9 lead with four minutes left in the opening period.
North then put together a 9-0 run including three points from Stupp, as the Panthers pulled away 18-10 early in the second.
Bethel went on an 8-3 run including production from Emily and Morgan Crase, along with Schweiterman and Hawthorn to pull the Bees within two at the three-minute mark of the half.
Five quick points in the final minute of the half put the Panthers in front 26-19 at the break.
Bethel continues to scrap in the third, using an 8-2 run to pull within 34-33 late in the third period.
To begin the fourth, Bethel reeled off six quick points in a minute, capped by a Grable drive to the rim, giving Bethel a 39-36 lead.
There were six lead changes in the final 3:40 of the game, as neither team wanted to give this one away. Klaudia Lowery connected on a free throw and Hawthorn scored to give the Bees a 48-46 lead before the Panthers scored to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Bees struck quickly as Hawthorn and Morgan Crase connected from midrange to take the 52-48 lead, but back came the Panthers. Stupp hit a free throw, and later connected from in the paint to close the Bethel lead to 54-53 with 49 seconds left.
North had possession with 27 seconds left, but could not get the shot to fall, and Hawthorn drove to the rim and scored with six seconds left. Stupp’s prayer from the three was short and the Bees prevailed.