SANFORD — District rivals met for their one league weighted game of the season on Saturday night. Thanks to a big fourth quarter Sanford was able to force overtime and knock off the previously undefeated Del Norte Tigers 56-51.
Sanford (15-4) strung together five straight wins dating back to their Jan. 26th meeting with Del Norte, which the Tigers took by 6 points. Del Norte (18-1) was one game away from completing a perfect regular season.
Sanford seemed hesitant to allow Saturday become a track meet. The home team’s offensive possessions were slow and methodical. Arguably the best thing you can do to help yourself when facing a team that boasts the number two scorer in the state is to keep the ball out of her hands for as long as possible.
Del Norte quickly pushed the pace and took a 15-7 lead after one quarter. A couple of slides into the wall padding took it’s toll on Del Norte’s Kendra Parra who would return to the court donning wrapping on her wrist. Though the wrapping wouldn’t stay, she could be seen favoring her right wrist the remainder of the night. Despite that and an attempt to save a ball that resulted in a limp, Parra wasn’t taken too far off her center scoring a team leading 25 points.
Del Norte would continue scoring to lead at the half 30-19. Parra and Kiela Madrid would each put up four points in the third quarter to help extend the lead for Del Norte entering the fourth quarter.
Del Norte would hold a 43-30 advantage with 8 minutes remaining in the game. In five minutes Sanford pulled out all the stops to put together a 14-4 run capped by Sanford’s Asia Caldon sinking one of her five three pointers in the game to tie it up at 47 points. Caldon paced all scorers for Sanford with 17 points, 15 of which came from long range.
Three minutes later and an overtime period was needed to separate the two teams.
Sanford’s Cheyenne Caldon would break the tie from the free throw line with two minutes remaining in the overtime period. Senior Lauren Canty would make it a three-point advantage making good on both of her attempts from the charity stripe. With thirty seconds remaining in the three point game Parra would get fouled from outside the arc and get three free throws. Parra would go two of three and owned the only points from Del Norte in overtime giving Sanford the late season win.
As the number one team in the Southern Peaks League Sanford will take Tuesday off and will meet the winner of Custer County and Center on Thursday in Plachy Hall. Del Norte will go to work right away and host Crested Butte Tuesday night, the winner will face the winner of Sargent and South Park.