The Andale Indians had to wonder how many more rabbits the Olathe East Hawks could pull out of their hat Thursday night in the first round of the Mid America Classic.
Andale led Olathe East for all but 39 seconds of regulation before the Hawks tied it, and then the Indians still appeared to have the game won in overtime, only to see East’s Amy Waechter drain a 3-pointer to force a second overtime — the first 2-OT game in the 19 years of the tourney.
The Hawks finally ran out of magic, as Andale ruled the rest of the way for a 46-42 victory in a breathtaking opener.
"Oh my goodness, we gave them a few rabbits with a couple of plays we made that shouldn't have happened," Andale coach Mark Kerschen said. "We kind of got wound up in the game and forgot who we were guarding a couple of times and let them drive and they got open shots. But then we regained it through overtime at least and stopped some of that stuff."
Andale, after being up 21-15 at the half, stretched it out to as many as seven in the fourth quarter before East mounted a comeback. The Hawks took their first lead of the game with 39 seconds left on a basket by Molly Taitt, but Lauren Rowland answered moments later for Andale to put it back ahead 42-41. A free throw by Regan Stone with 9 seconds left tied it, with the Indians missing a long 3-pointer at the end to force OT.
The Indians appeared to be in good shape in the OT as Brittany Meyer's two free throws with 22 seconds left put them up 47-44, but Waechter made a deep 3 in the closing seconds to force the second extra session.
But it was all Andale there, up as many as five, scoring its last six points at the foul line.
Rowland, who had only four points at the half, finished with 20 to lead the winners. Meyer scored 13 and Jaiden Easter added 10. Stone fired in 16, while Waechter made four 3s for 12 points and Taitt had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Kerschen is excited to be playing in McPherson in the late game, as the two 4A schools in the larger-school field advanced.
"We come up here to play them," he said. "That's why we wanted to come up here."