What looked like a blowout upset in a Lake Division II district semifinal quickly became an overtime thriller, but the Norton Panthers hung on to knock off top-seeded Archbishop Hoban 43-41.
The fourth-seeded Panthers dominated the Knights for the majority of the game.
That is until the Knights started doing what they do best: make 3-pointers.
Hoban, who trailed by as much as 12 late in the third quarter, entered the fourth trailing 32-23 without any sort of offensive momentum.
Sophomore Kara Marshall then caught fire, knocking down three 3-pointers, including one to send it into overtime with 20 seconds remaining. She led the Knights (16-8) with 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“Kara is the heart and soul of our program,” Hoban coach Scott Callaghan said. “Those are the kinds of things she does.”
The Knights scored 18 points in the fourth quarter after scoring just 23 in the previous three combined.
They then scored the first three points of the overtime period to take a 41-38 lead, but Panthers junior Paige Szittai answered with a big 3-pointer to tie and senior point guard Brooke Robinson knocked in the go-ahead free-throw shot to secure the victory.
Robinson shot 7-of-8 from the free-throw line, including five in the second half and overtime. She led the Panthers (14-11) with 11 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists.
“We played good teams this year but we haven’t played a better point guard than Robinson,” Callaghan said. “She is flat out the best point guard we’ve played. She controlled the whole game.”
Freshman sharpshooter Rachel Chessar scored the first four points of the game for Hoban on a 3-pointer and a free throw before going scoreless the rest of the game, contributing a large part of the Knights struggles to get their offense going.
“We did some gimmick things that we normally don’t do that I don’t think Hoban was prepared for,” Norton coach Brian Miller said. “I told the girls they couldn’t let a girl that makes four or five threes a game make four or five threes in this game.”
Norton moves on to face second-seeded Tallmadge on Friday at 7 p.m.