It was a loss that had some bite to it.
For veteran Woodridge girls basketball head coach Chris Nauer, he had to take a few extra minutes before he could do anything after his club’s crushing 40-39 loss in overtime to Field Wednesday.
"This was a tough one," said Nauer afterward.
"I told the girls that I love what they are doing right now," said Nauer, of his club’s recent play.
"They are emotional right now and that’s OK," he added. "That is a testament to what these ladies are doing and to who they are. We’ll come back tomorrow and start working again, but I am proud of these girls."
With 0.3 seconds on the clock in the overtime session, Field point guard Aaliyah Ruppel sank the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw attempt to seal the win.
It’s how Ruppel got to the foul line that left a bad taste in the mouths of the Bulldog faithful on their own court.
Nauer called a timeout with 15.9 ticks left wanting to get the final shot or to force another extra session.
Freshman guard Leah Mencer got a decent look a 3-pointer, which was off, but rugged junior post Olivia Woods got the offensive board and put up a shot in traffic at the buzzer.
The shot missed, but there was a whistle blown – somewhat of a late one.
It was a bang, bang play that could have gone a couple of ways, but one way that Nauer didn’t anticipate is that Woods would be called for an over-the-back personal foul.
One other aspect that Woodridge didn’t count on was that the officials put only 0.3 seconds back on the clock.
That meant that Ruppel’s free throw attempt would decide the game. To her credit, she buried the shot after being iced by a Bulldog timeout.
The loss snapped a five-game win streak after a huge 52-40 league win against visiting Ravenna Jan. 25.
Field’s Maria Sziva, who recently surpassed 1,000 career points, was the central figure in the clash as the Falcons prolific scorer and ball handler.
Sziva hit two free throws to make it 39-39 with 1:29 left after Bulldog sophomore Izzy Best hit a short jumper to make it 39-37. Sziva had four points and a steal in OT.
Despite an alarming 25 turnovers (Field had 14), Woodridge had opportunities.
After Sziva’s two charity tosses, the Bulldogs had two missed shots and two offensive boards by Woods, and a third by senior Emma Francis would lead to three shots and no points in the possession.
Woods, who led Woodridge with 12 points and six caroms, grabbed the defensive rebound after a Kaitlyn Feller miss at the top of the key with 27 ticks. That led to the game’s final possession.
At the end of regulation, Woods missed a contested short jumper with 3.2 seconds left.
It was a tough stretch as Mencer drilled a deep 3-pointer on the left elbow as Francis penetrated and kicked out the ball. That gave Woodridge a 35-31 lead with 55 ticks left.
That lead didn’t last long.
Sziva promptly scored with 41.3 seconds left and had a chance for a 3-point play, but missed a rare free throw, but Feller grabbed a huge board off the glass and converted a hoop to tie it at 35-35 with 36 seconds left.
Woodridge used a 7-0 run in the third period to seize a 24-23 lead with 46.7 ticks left on a layup by junior Layla Foster.
Foster and Best did a superb job in guarding Sziva, who still finished with 23 points.
In fact, the Bulldog duo held Sziva without a basket for the game’s first 8:54 as she hit her first basket on a floater at the 7:06 mark of the first half.
It was a first half that saw Woodridge (10-9) have only two players score – Woods had 10 points and Foster, seven.
Strong individual defense held Field to just five field goals in the first half, but the Bulldogs had 12 turnovers.
"I thought our girls (Foster and Best) did a great job of guarding her (Sziva) and we mixed up defenses," noted Nauer, who used his 1-2-2 half court zone defense.
"Hats off to her (Sziva), she fought through it and is a very good scorer, but I was proud of our defense."
Foster popped in nine points while Francis had a strong floor game with six points, seven boards, five assists, and five thefts.
Best and Mencer each hit crucial shots late in the game and each had six points.
Senior Libby Howard snared a game-high 13 rebounds as Woodridge fell to 6-6 in the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division. Field (10-8) is 5-6.
In the win over Ravenna, Woodridge held the Ravens (10-8, 8-4) to 14 field goals.
Woods had a game-high 15 points and five rebounds while Francis had 12 points. Foster had nine points while Howard added seven points and six boards.
Having a nice floor game, Mencer added a triple and dished out six assists.