For the first three quarters it seemed like Saturday night just wasn't meant to be for Williamsport. Shots rattled in and out, loose balls bounced the wrong way and forced turnovers didn't seem to turn into points.
Down by 11 points late in the third quarter, it seemed like it was all but over for the Millionaires. And just when it seemed like all was lost, Deidra Dunkleberger found her stroke, hitting big shot after big shot.
Dunkleberger drilled five fourth-quarter 3-pointers to help force overtime and scored a career-high 21 points in Williamsport's 64-53 overtime win over Westinghouse Saturday night at Williamsport High School.
Deidra Dunkleberger of Williamsport tries to shoot as Westinghouse’s Jasmine Myers defends Saturday at Williamsport.
In a playoff-like setting as the crowd packed the stands for the boys game to follow, Dunkleberger rose to the occasion, further igniting the crowd with each 3-pointer she buried.
"I just listened to my coaches to keep my knees bent and to keep shooting," Dunkleberger said. "I couldn't really give up and I wanted to win the game. It was like the best feeling ever."
Dunkleberger struggled before eventually catching fire late, missing her first 13 shots while the Millionaires (1-3) missed their first 22 attempts from 3-point range. Dunkleberger never lost confidence, however, taking each shot without hesitation, even when they weren't falling.
"They were packing it in on Aisha so we said you have to keep shooting, otherwise we won't score any points," said Williamsport head coach Derek Slaughter. "They put two or three girls on Aisha and the outside was wide open so we had to keep shooting."
And while it was Dunkleberger who caught fire from beyond the arc late, it was Williamsport's senior leader Aisha Evans who helped get those open shots by working tirelessly in the paint, grabbing rebounds and cleaning up missed shots.
Evans scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while playing a tough matchup against Westinghouse's biggest player Jasmine Pennybaker.
"She's our senior leader, she's our catalyst and she's our engine," Slaughter said. "We go as she goes, she did what she was supposed to do."
Despite solid numbers, Evans was held in check for most of the night, as the Lady Bulldogs (2-1) made her the focal point of their defense. The Millionaires didn't give up, though, as Dunkleberger and Chloe Jennings stepped up with the ball out of Evans' hands. Jennings knocked down a huge 3-pointer in overtime and played poised and under control down the stretch alongside Dunkleberger.
"Tonight, we kept our poise-we went down double digits-but Deidra Dunkleberger hit some huge shots for us," Slaughter said. "Chloe Jennings stepped up and played a huge game, so it feels great to get this win."
Led by Jasmine Myers, who scored 32 points while seemingly doing anything and everything for the Lady Bulldogs, Westinghouse led for most of the game until the Millionaires tied the game at 44-44 late in the fourth quarter. But with an electric crowd behind them, the Millionaires forced 43 turnovers, each one getting the crowd more and more into the game.
With Myers doing the majority of the ball-handling, the Millionaires cranked up the intensity on defense early in the first quarter, running a full-court press the rest of the way. And it was when Myers fouled out in overtime that the defense - and the crowd behind it - drove the final nail in Westinghouse's coffin.
"We had that crowd energy and our girls aren't typically used to that until you get into a playoff-type setting," Slaughter said. "They stepped up and used that energy to maybe step up on defense and got that win."
Kiara Dolby 0 0-0 0, Tiara Gordan 1 0-0 2, Brittany Jackson 3 2-5 8, Jasmine Myers 14 3-6 32, Tiffany Stine 4 3-7 11, Jasmine Pennybaker 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 8-20 53.
Mackenzie Bowman 0 0-0 0, Deidra Dunkleberger 5 6-8 21, Marissa Peterson 0 1-4 1, Jaid Harsch 1 0-2 2, Aisha Evans 6 8-10 20, Jazmyn Massey-Porter 0 0-0 0, Amy Southard 0 0-0 0, Chloe Jennings 5 4-5 15, Lydia Whaley 2 2-3 5. Totals 19 21-32 64.
Westinghouse12 12 10 15 4 -- 53
Williamsport9 8 8 24 15 -- 63
3-Point goals: Westinghouse (Myers). Williamsport 6 (Dunkleberger 5, Jennings).
Records: Westinghouse 2-1; Williamsport 1-3