LOGAN — Introduced as being seven feet tall as part of a Senior Night prank during pre-game introductions, what could turn out to be the final play of Emmalee Dicken’s home-court basketball career was certainly the biggest of her life Monday night.
With her Logan Chiefs trailing visiting Amanda-Clearcreek by one point in the dying seconds of overtime, the 5-foot-4 Dicken took an inbounds pass on the left side of the floor and quickly drove the lane to bank in a game-winning layup with three seconds left as Logan edged the Aces 59-58 in Jim Myers Gymnasium.
Yet while this night was about those four seniors so far as Chieftain Nation was concerned, it was a senior from Amanda-Clearcreek who nearly stole the show.
Alyssa Evans became the school’s all-time leading scorer — male or female — as she scored the Aces’ first 14 points of the game.
She needed 10 to take the all-time top spot and, ironically, scored her ninth, tenth and eleventh points on a three-ball with 4:32 left in the opening period from almost the same identical spot that Bo Myers of the Logan Chieftains became Logan’s all-time boys leading scorer just nine days earlier.
Evans helped the Aces (14-8) take a 14-7 lead a little more than five minutes into the game and then nearly led her team to an incredible come-from-behind win.
While the 5-foot-6 senior tied her career high with 35 points, it was a rebound and pass she made in the final seconds of regulation that finally wiped out a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit.
A-C trailed 45-31 early in the final stanza, and it was 47-34 Lady Chiefs after freshman Brooklin Harris made a back-door layup with 6:46 remaining.
The Aces scored the final 13 points of the quarter, during which Logan (7-13) missed the front end of three crucial one-and-one situations at the free-throw line in the final minute, to send the game to overtime.
As the clock was expiring, the Aces missed a potential game-tying three but Evans — who also had nine rebounds, four assists and three steals and shot 10-of-18 from the field — muscled to get the rebound in traffic under the basket.
She had the presence of mind, however, to know that she couldn’t try for a put-back, because it would leave her team one point short, so she made a terrific baseline dish to 5-1 junior Kilynn Guiler, who was wide open in the left corner.
The buzzer sounded and the lights behind the bankboard went on as Guiler’s triple hit nothing but net, tying the score at 47-47 and sending the game to overtime.
The four-minute OT then turned into an exciting, back-and-forth affair in which the lead changed hands four times.
A Starlin 3-point play early in the extra session helped Logan take a four-point advantage but an Evans hoop-and-harm 3-point play put the Aces up 54-53 with 1:09 left.
Two Harris free throws with 59 seconds to play put Logan in front, but A-C regained the lead on Katelynn Connell’s stick-back with 43 seconds remaining.
Starlin made a free throw with 34.3 seconds left to draw Logan even before Evans made one of the most amazing floor-length drives to the bucket you’ll ever see to put the Aces in front 58-56 with 27 seconds left.
The Chiefs ran the clock under 10 seconds and sophomore Avery Thompson drew a foul going to the hoop with 9.5 seconds to go. She made the first shot but missed the second and the rebound went out of bounds — the Chiefs were probably fortunate to not be called for a foul on the play — and was awarded to Logan with 7.4 seconds left.
Dicken took Emilie Eggleston’s inbounds pass and found a seam as she crossed into the lane, made a quick step and banked in the game-winner as Chieftain Nation erupted.
The Aces were out of timeouts and couldn’t stop the clock. Evans launched a shot from half-court that hit the rim but it appeared the shot left her hands just after the buzzer.
To say this was a Senior Night for the ages — for both teams — would be an understatement.
Although he obviously would love to have seen his team register what would have been an improbable come-from-behind victory, Amanda-Clearcreek coach Cary James got what he wanted by visiting Hocking County Monday night.
“When we got this game on the schedule for the last game of the year, we thought that was really good for us because they’re a good team,” James said of the Chiefs. “They are big, they’re athletic (and they’re) as good as any team we’re going to see in our district. We came in here (to) compete. We were down 14 and battled all the way back to fight back through some adversity that might help us down the road somewhere.”
The Aces are seeded fifth in the upcoming Division III Central District tournament. With Evans (1,666 career points) wearing an A-C uniform, they may very well be able to at least duplicate what they did last season.
“Obviously, we’re a pretty easy scout with (Evans being the focal point), but you know, we won the district with that last year and we’re going to try to make another run this year,” James said. “When you have the best player on the floor, you always have a chance. We had a chance tonight. We didn’t pull through, but we had a chance.”
The Aces host Cristo Rey to open the tournament a week from today.