Flint Hamady girls basketball team falls in OT of quarterfinal game to Riverview Gabriel Richard behind Ashley Henderson’s 31 points
BURTON, MI – Hamady freshman Jalisha Terry’s final three-point attempt in overtime bounced hard off the backboard without touching the rim. The Riverview Gabriel Richard girls basketball team joyfully sprinted to its bench and proudly celebrated after the buzzer sounded.
For the first time in school history, the Pioneers will play at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. Riverview upset Hamady 47-44 in a Class C quarterfinal to advance to the state semifinals.
“Hamady is a quality team and we knew we’d have a difficult task coming in and we didn’t even know if we were in the same class of team that they were but its great when kids come together at the right time,” said second-year Gabriel Richard coach William Jones. “My credit is to Hamady as far as being a worthy opponent. They’re tough and they’re going to be tough for a few years.”
Gabriel Richard senior Ashley Henderson outscored her team with 31 points, falling one point shy of her career-high, but Megan Trueblood sent the game into overtime with a layup at the buzzer to end regulation. Henderson intentionally missed her second free throw with 4.2 seconds left on the clock, with her coach’s wishes, and Trueblood grabbed the rebound and scored on a putback layup.
“I’ve watched so many college and NBA games and I’ve never thought in my basketball career that I would ever have to make that play,” said Henderson, a Saginaw Valley State University soccer commit. “My coach told me to make the first one and miss the second one.
“I looked at him like ‘Are you crazy?’ and then I missed it and sprinted for the rebound but Megan Trueblood made it and at first thought we won the game but said ‘overtime’s good for me.’”
Hawks coach Keith Smith felt like Trueblood’s layup changed the momentum of the game. He quickly called for his girls to get off the floor and into the huddle after the play but didn’t think his girls recovered from the shot.
“Our youth caught up with us,” Smith said. “We had some unforced turnovers that we shouldn’t have had, I used all of my timeouts to instruct them and certain things about the game have to start sticking in their heads because when you get in these tournament situations you can’t hear everything the coach says and you only have a certain amount of timeouts.”
Sydnee McDonald scored all six points for Hamady in overtime and ended with a team-high 11 points with 10 steals. Tiyanna Greene and Morgan Neelev both posted eight points as Terry scored seven with four assists.
Henderson came on strong in the end posting eight of her team’s nine points in the extra session. She also scored 21 of Gabriel Richard’s final 26 points in the second half and in overtime. It was her second straight game with at least 30 points but Henderson wouldn’t take full credit for the victory.
“A lot of people say that my teammates depend on me but no we’re a team out there and I can give them the ball knowing that they will make shots,” Henderson said. “This is a great accomplishment. I can’t be more proud of any other person on the team. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Gabriel Richard (16-7) will take on Manchester (25-1) in the Class C MHSAA semifinals in East Lansing at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 14.