The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


January 13, 2013

Depp, Eagles soar

Geneva star hits 3 in closing seconds to sink Madison in PAC showdown

GENEVA — Everyone knew who was going to take the final shot. Most knew where it would be taken from. And Geneva guard Becky Depp had a pretty good idea her Madison counterpart knew what was coming.

Good instincts freed her and she buried a 3-pointer from the wing with three seconds left to give the Eagles a 41-38 Premier Athletic Conference victory over the Blue Streaks.

Depp took a pass from her sister, Sarah Depp, dribbled a step to her right and the corner, stepped back to her left, fired and tickled the twine.

“In practice, we always practice stepping back,” Becky Depp said. “I dribbled right and stepped back. We work on those plays a lot in practice. It was just instinct.

“We ran that play earlier and I got a 3 off her. I did the opposite of where she thought I was going.”

It was the exact kind of play Geneva coach Nancy Barbo expects from her senior leader.

“That’s what big players do,” she said. “She’s put in a lot of hours to finish in moments like that.”

The play was a bit of a failure for the Blue Streaks, though the shot was defended well.

“That last shot, I told them to foul with five or six seconds left,” Madison coach Mike Smith said. “We had one to give. I wanted them to inbound it again and only have about four seconds. Instead, we sagged off on Sarah. Becky hit an awesome shot.”

The last-second shot erased a valiant comeback by Madison (10-4, 6-2) in the second half.

“As the head coach, we did everything we could to lose this game in the first half (as opposed to doing everything we could to win it in the second half),” Smith said. “It’s a glass half full/half empty kind of thing. We’re a better team than (the way we played in the first half).

“(Geneva’s) a scrappy team. We should be able to play with them. We didn’t shoot well. In the second half, we came out and played up to our ability.”

The Blue Streaks trailed by eight, 21-13, coming out of the break, but received a shot in the arm from Dana Appelfeller.

Appelfeller knocked down a 3-pointer to open the half and went on to score seven of her team-high 13 points in the period as the Blue Streaks actually took a 29-25 lead behind a trey from Tayler Gustin and a bucket from Julie Bruening with 1:40 to play in the period.

“I was pulling my hair out, throwing things, it was like watching two different teams,” Barbo said. “As much as I had complimented them at the half, it was the exact opposite in the second half.

“We can’t have long droughts where we’re not scoring and we are turning the ball over.”

A steal and a layup by Becky Depp and a 3-pointer from Emily Ball with four seconds remaining in the quarter put the Eagles (12-1, 7-1) back on top, 30-29, to start the fourth.

Julie Gavorski put Madison ahead, 33-31, with 6:20 to play, but a steal and a layup by Becky Depp, a bucket by Sarah Depp on a feed from Ball and a 3-pointer from the corner by Becky Depp had Geneva back in front, 38-33, with 3:20 to go.

A drive by Taylor Bland and a traditional three-point play by Gavorski knotted the score at 38-38 with 1:35 remaining.

“I don’t think we ever gained momentum in the second half until Becky hit that last shot,” Barbo said. “I did say to the girls that they showed a lot of resiliency to overcome such frustration and finish with composure.”

With starting center Natalie Thomas on the bench with two early fouls, Annaliesa Fistek proved her worth to the Eagles with a pair of buckets as Geneva took a 10-5 lead through the first eight minutes. A 3-pointer from Alyssa Scott and a drive to the hole by Becky Depp produced a 21-13 Geneva lead at the half.

Becky Depp led the Eagles with 14 points and Sarah Depp had nine.

Bland had eight points for the Blue Streaks.          

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

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