Linden Hall head coach Ellen Bair graduated from Gettysburg High in 2013 and when she brought her Lions back to face her alma mater, they gave the homestanding Warriors all they could handle before Gettysburg eeked out a 56-51 overtime victory in girls basketball action Thursday night in Gettysburg.
It was the fourth time that Gettysburg head coach Jeff Bair has faced one of children as the opposing head coach and he’s won all four times. He went 3-0 against his son, Sean, when Sean helmed the New Oxford boys program from 2013-19.
“There were moments of distraction where I got caught watching her coach and it made me feel proud,” Jeff said. “She knows our team very well and she had her team very well prepared. She even stole one of my inbounds plays and ran it twice. It worked both times.”
Ellen said of the experience, “I feels good to be in this gym. My coach (Gettysburg athletic director Casey Thurston) is here, my dad coaches them, my sister (Anne) plays for them and it was fun to bring my team in here to play.”
Anne was a thorn in the side of the Lions all night long as the Manhattan University commit posted 23 points, grabbed 13 boards and handed out six assists.
“Dad and I watch their games all the time, my sister watches us all the time and I’ve played AAU ball with some of their girls,” Anne said. “We had to out execute them, because we weren’t going to trick them.”
Linden Hall (6-4) led 46-41 following Luna Kirby’s foray down the lane for a deuce with 3:06 remaining in regulation, but the Warriors tightened the screws defensively from there.
A Camryn Felix triple at 2:54 made it 46-44. Then down 48-46, Bair got a steal following a trap employed by the Warriors and she hit Felix with a perfect bounce pass for the tying layup with 1:17 to go.
Gettysburg (15-2) got a steal on the Lions’ next possession and milked the clock down to 6.6 seconds before calling for time.
Felix had a chance to win it, but her 3-point attempt from well beyond the arc on the left wing was partially blocked by Anastsiya Astapenka and came up well short of the rim.
Bair began the scoring in overtime with a lefty tear drop floater in the lane over the jump and outstretched arms of 6-foot-5 Mercy Ademusayo than banked in with 2:37 to play.
“I was working on my floaters to prepare to face her,” Bair said of Ademusayo. “You can’t go right at her, she’ll block it right back in your face.”
A triple by Nadja Velisvljev with 1:51 to play put the Lions back in front, but Felix had the answer with a lefty running hook that banked in with 1:12 remaining to put Gettysburg ahead to stay.
“That’s stuff that Anne and Cam work on all the time. It’s something that they’ll need to be able to do in college,” Jeff Bair said. “I really liked our poise in overtime. We did what we needed to do to get the win.”
Gettysburg was playing for the third straight night, while LH hadn’t played since last Monday, but it didn’t show early on.
The Warriors led by as many as nine in the opening quarter and went to the quarter break enjoying a 16-8 advantage.
A free throw by Karli Bortner 25 seconds into the second quarter was Gettysburg’s only points of the frame and the Lions rallied for a 19-17 lead at intermission.
“We had a lot of time to prepare for this game and it was their third game in three nights,” Ellen Bair said. “I think we might’ve been a little nervous at the start. This is a big stage for us to play on. We don’t normally play teams like this in gyms this size.”
Ademusayo, a Northwestern University recruit, gave her squad a 35-27 lead with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter, but the Warriors shaved that deficit in a hurry during the final two minutes of the stanza.
A pair of triples by Bair, including one at the quarter horn that she shot left-handed and banked in were sandwiched around Briana Abate’s deep ball as Gettysburg drew within 37-36 going to the final quarter.
Felix joined Bair in double figures with 16 points, though she missed seven straight shots after connecting on her first two attempts. She made 4-of-6 in the final four minutes of regulation and overtime.
“Cam has a lot of confidence in herself and we have a lot of confidence in her,” Anne Bair said. “We want her shooting the ball.”
Jeff Bair was pleased with the job that Abate (7 points, 4 rebounds) did against Ademusayo, who finished with nine points, 12 boards and three blocks.
“The goal was to limit her touches and Bri, along with Emili Scavitto, did a nice job of that,” he said. “We didn’t let her take over the game and she’s capable of doing that.”
Velisvljev paced LH with 19 points as she connected four times from 3PT Land.
Both teams captured district titles in their respective classes a year ago, Gettysburg in 5A and Linden Hall in 2A.
“We’ll benefit from playing them,” Ellen Bair said. “I would’ve loved to have won the game, but we’ll gain a lot just from the experience tonight. This was our first overtime game and we haven’t had many close games.”
Gettysburg wraps up its regular season with a home game against Susquehannock on Saturday afternoon.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Linden Hall 8 11 18 11 3 — 51
Gettysburg 16 1 19 12 8 — 56
Linden Hall (51): Jenadia Jordan 4 0-0 9, Nadja Velisvljev 7 1-2 19, Luna Kirby 1 2-3 4, Mercy Ademusayo 3 3-5 9, Anastsiya Astapenka 5 0-0 10. Totals: 20 6-10 51.
Gettysburg (56): Camryn Felix 6 0-0 16, Winter Oaster 0 2-2 2, Karli Bortner 0 1-2 1, Carley Eckhart 1 5-6 7, Anne Bair 6 7-10 23, Briana Abate 2 2-4 7. Non-scorers: Scavitto, Fortnum, Shepherd. Totals: 15 17-29 56.
3-Pointers: LH — Velisvljev 4, Jordan. G — Felix 4, Bair 4, Abate.