LAMPASAS — You could see it on the floor. Neither team wanted to come away from Tuesday night’s 19-4A game with a loss. In the end, Salado outscored Lampasas 9-1 in the second overtime to come away with a 57-49 victory on the road.
Sarah Kate Kelarek could not be stopped. The senior scored a game-high 25 points and came up big when her team needed her from the free-throw line to finish off the victory.
“Sarah has been like that since she was a freshman,” Salado coach Diane Konarik said. “She’s been that go-to girl, and she’s that leader that every coach wants on her team.
“She’s one of the captains on the team, and I think the girls all look up to her, because she’s a leader.”
Lampasas (6-11, 0-2) held a 42-41 edge with 40 seconds remaining in regulation after Kamri Corbin’s bucket.
Salado (7-6, 2-0) tied the game at 42 when junior Kayla Manning hit a free throw after being fouled on a shot with 26 seconds left, and that’s how the score held at the end of regulation.
In the first overtime, it appeared the Lady Badgers were going to come out on top when Lampasas held a 48-42 lead with 49 seconds left.
But, as the Lady Eagles did all night, they would not give up.
Danielle McDaniel hit a quick 3-pointer from the corner to bring Salado back within three at 48-45.
Following a steal, Kelarek nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 48-all with 12 seconds left to play in the first overtime.
In the second overtime, the Lady Eagles dominated.
McDaniel found Manning under the basket for a layup to give Salado a 52-48 lead with just under a minute remaining.
Kelarek added four free throws to complete the improbable come-from- behind victory.
“I told my team before we left the school that we always have to think that the team we are playing is the hardest team in the district, especially on the road,” Konarik said. “I told my team in the second overtime that ‘I could see you girls want the game more. It’s in your eyes.’ And they did it. They won the ballgame.”
In the first half, neither team had more than a five-point lead. Salado led 9-8 after the first quarter. The Lady Eagles led at halftime 23-20.
The Lady Badgers outscored Salado 14-4 in the third quarter behind the play of Alexis Theus, who scored eight points in the quarter. Lampasas led 34-27 after the third quarter.
That was when Kelarek and her 5-foot-5 backcourt mate, Kerrigan Hearne, regrouped their teammates.
Hearne nailed a clutch 3-pointer with 2:35 remaining to tie the score at 38.
Despite the loss, Lampasas head coach Jenny Roberts liked the way her team battled all game long.
“Overall I thought we played aggressive tonight, and we played together as a team. There were spurts where we fell apart. Defensive is our weakness right now, so we really have to focus on that. This group hasn’t played much together, and we are really young. We saw some good things tonight, but saw some things we really have to work on.”
Theus finished with a team-high 15 points. Corbin added nine points, while sophomore Diane Hurst helped with eight points, and Morgann Schroeder contributed seven.