Ellet freshman McKenzi Corple had one of those moments in which pure joy met disbelief on the basketball court Thursday night at Firestone.
With the score tied at 27-27 and the clock rolling with less than 10 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, Corple received a pass from senior Christyle Warren in the corner opposite Ellet’s bench and let a 3-point shot fly.
Corple’s shot went through the air and then the net to give Ellet a 30-27 lead.
Firestone had one more possession, but it did not lead to points.
“I was like, ‘Did that just happen?’ And then everybody started freaking out and I was like, ‘Oh, that actually happened,’ ” Corple said with a smile.
Corple finished with five points on an evening when each side struggled to score.
“I was just relaxing and all my focus was on that shot at the end,” Corple said. “I had that look and I just shot the ball, relaxed and made it.”
All of Ellet’s scoring came from its starting five. Senior Alyssa Martin led Ellet (2-2, 2-0 City Series) with 11 points, 23 rebounds and two blocks. Warren had seven points, 11 rebounds, five steals and three assists; junior LaQuasia Johnson scored four points; and senior Sarah Mason had three points, nine steals and five rebounds.
Ellet coach Tina Wallace said she and assistant coach Chris Merring wanted to get the ball to Martin in the post for the final shot, but Firestone’s defense forced the ball to the perimeter and into the hands of Corple, who was wide open.
“McKenzi didn’t hesitate, which for a freshman I thought that was huge,” Wallace said.
Junior Jayda Wallace paced Firestone (3-2, 0-2) with seven points, 11 rebounds and four steals. Junior Si’Ayera Boone had four points, seven rebounds and three steals, and sophomore Amara Terry contributed four points and 13 rebounds.
The score was tied 8-8 at the end of the first quarter. Firestone held a 16-10 lead at halftime and a 23-22 edge through three quarters.
Firestone coach Theresa Clere said she is seeing improvement from her players after a one-win season a year ago.
“I would consider this a redevelopment type of season of who is already here because I didn’t graduate any seniors last season,” Clere said. “I have a few new faces, but most of our players are back and healthy. That is another issue that we had last year.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.