High School Football

Top seed North Marion holds off Bridgeport in overtime, 58-49

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It was only two years ago when the No. 1 seed North Marion girls basketball team escaped No. 8 Bluefield on a buzzer-beating basket.

Flash forward to Wednesday’s Class AA quarterfinal against No. 8 Bridgeport, and the top-seeded Huskies again needed late heroics to prevail.

After a shot by Indians’ freshman Gabby Reep narrowly missed as time expired in regulation, North Marion took control in overtime to escape with a 58-49 win at the Charleston Coliseum.

“The big thing about the first round is survival,” North Marion coach Michael Parrish said. “Anything can happen when you get down here and it usually does.”

The victory allows the Huskies (25-1) to play in a Friday semifinal against the winner of Lincoln-Nitro, though it came in far different fashion than when NMHS rolled past the Tribe on Jan. 16, 92-45.

“Everyone looked at the score the first time we played, but we played really well that night and didn’t play well tonight,” Parrish said.

Game Highlights

The Indians (13-13) took the early lead in the extra session on a Hannah Bartlett jumper, but Katlyn Carson answered by scoring from close range to start a critical 6-0 Huskies’ run. That spurt included consecutive baskets from Huskies’ freshman Olivia Toland, before Maddie Wilson scored inside to cut the Tribe deficit to 49-47.

But the Indians got no closer, and by the time they scored again on a Bartlett field goal with 10 seconds remaining, the deficit was 56-49.

“An inch here or there and we win,” Bridgeport coach Herman Pierson said. “That’s about as good as it gets. We’ll see if anybody else gives them that good of a shot the rest of the tournament.”

During the 7-0 overtime surge that put the game out of reach, Buonamici scored inside and made both of her free throws.

“We were flying around and that’s when we’re at our best,” Parrish said.

After trailing 8-2 in the early stages, the Tribe closed the first quarter on a 10-0 run.

However, NMHS outscored the Indians 12-5 over the final 3:53 of the opening half to take a 22-21 lead into the locker room.

The Huskies appeared to be in control after Buonamici and Carson combined for a 6-0 run to end the third quarter to give their team a 40-33 lead.

But Buonamici’s three-pointer with 3:30 to play marked North Marion’s only points of the fourth quarter, and Reep drilled a triple with 1:01 to play to tie it at 43.

“We did a pretty good job making them eat some time up and pass it around,” Pierson said. “We challenged shots well 60 or 70 percent of the time. The game plan worked and we were right there.”

Buonamici led all players with 23 points, while Toland scored 15.

“We did what we needed to do to get out of here (with a win),” Buonamici said.

AnnaMarie Pinti led the Indians with 12 points, while Reep and Paige Humble added 11 and 10, respectively.

North Marion postgame press conference

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