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East Newton outlasts TJ in overtime thriller

Feb. 2—In a game that saw 12 lead changes in the second half, it seemed only fitting that it would take an extra four minutes to decide the winner. When the smoke cleared, it was the East Newton Patriots girls basketball team that prevailed 47-46 in overtime over the Thomas Jefferson Cavaliers in the consolation game of the Mercy/Warrior Classic on Friday night at McAuley Catholic High School.

With points at a premium early for both teams, it was East Newton that took control in the first quarter, jumping out to 9-4 lead off an Ella Marion score with eight seconds left.

Thomas Jefferson (10-9) responded by outscoring the Patriots 10-2 in the second frame and took its first lead, 10-9, off a Sarah Mueller bucket with 4:12 left.

The Patriots (6-15) regained the lead at 3:12 off a Cameron Clement putback that gave East Newton an 11-10 lead with 3:16 left, but TJ responded with another Mueller score to make it 12-11 with 1:13 remaining.

Lannah Grigg made a bucket to give TJ a 14-11 halftime lead.

East Newton opened the second half with a Halle Cook basket in the paint and two Brooklynn Blanchard free throws to reclaim the lead at 15-14.

The Cavaliers took back the lead at 6:48 with a Mueller drive to the basket. The back-and-forth continued until TJ managed to build a 4-point lead off of a Mueller layup in transition that put TJ up 24-20.

Blanchard drew East Newton closer with a 3-pointer, and after TJ's Gabbi Hiebert hit two free throws, Blanchard connected again from long distance to tie the game at 26-26 heading into the fourth period.

Cavalier Presley Long hit a 3-pointer to open the final frame, and TJ managed to hold on to the lead until 4:23, when East Newton's Kadie Sesay scored to put the Patriots up 34-33.

That lead lasted just seconds as Hiebert found Lannah Grigg in the paint for a bucket that gave the Cavaliers the lead at 35-34. Hiebert extended the lead to 37-34, when she blocked an East Newton shot, retrieved the ball and drove the length of the floor for the score.

TJ held on to its lead until East Newton's Cameran Clement put the Patriots back on top 38-37 at 1:53. TJ led 40-38 with nine seconds left when Clement hit a short turn-around jumper in the lane to send the game into overtime at 40 each.

TJ built a 44-40 lead off a Grigg putback of her own shot and two Hiebert free throws at 1:11, but Clement scored twice, including an and-one to put the Patriots up 45-44 with 27 seconds left. Marion extended the lead to 47-44 with two free throws.

With less than 10 clicks left on the clock, TJ could not find an open 3-point shot and opted to settle for a 2-pointer, hoping to draw a foul. Grigg scored down low but could not draw the foul, and East Newton held on for the 47-46 win.

Blanchard, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter, led the Patriots with 16 points, and Clement added 12.

Hiebert had 17, including 12 from the line to claim game-high honors for TJ. Mueller finished with 12.

Up next for Thomas Jefferson is a home game against College Heights (9-9) on Tuesday. East Newton travels to Seneca (2-16) on Tuesday.