Watters scores and passes Rockford to overtime win over Grand Rapids Christian
Grand Rapids – All eyes were focused entirely on Rockford sophomore guard Madeline Watters as the final seconds slipped away during an exciting finish Tuesday night at Grand Rapids Christian.
Watters had scored all six of her team’s points in overtime.
On the final possession, however, with everyone expecting her to put up the last shot, she instead found teammate Kadison Klausing all alone underneath the basket for a layup that clinched a 62-61 upset.
It was just the sort of unselfish play the Rams needed to secure an important win.
“We just had to battle, pass the ball and move the ball,” Watters said. “I knew my teammates would be able to finish. I was a little (surprised to see her so open). I knew that someone was going to be open.”
Watters led the Rams (5-3) with 26 points.
She hit a running shot at the start of OT, split a pair of free throws and then made her lone 3-point field goal of the contest from the right side of the arc to snap a 57-57 tie with less a minute left in the extra period.
Christian (6-3) rallied for a one-point lead behind a 3-pointer from junior guard Heaven Jobe, a pair of free throws from senior center Rachel Warners and junior forward Arnetta Abbey’s short shot with 19.5 seconds remaining.
Up stepped the youngest player on the court to make the biggest play of the night.
“We ran up against her and she’s one of the best guards in the area,” Christian coach Tom Buteyn said of Watters. “I thought we did a nice job against her, especially on defense in the second half. But she’s good enough that she’s going to get her points. That’s just the kind of player she is.
“She can break you down, she can shoot it from the outside. She’s unselfish and looks for teammates.”
The Eagles had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but Abbey’s 15-foot jumper from the left elbow rattled in and out.
“It was a hard-fought game and the girls gave it the best we had,” Buteyn said. “We got exactly the shot we wanted at the end of regulation. You can’t control it. It it the rim three times and it bounces out.
“You can’t make them all. We gave it a good effort.”
The Eagles, who got a team-high 20 points from Warners, were missing their top two scorers from the lineup – junior forward Jocelyn Taylor and senior guard Kortney Deurloo. Jobe finished with 14 points, Abbey had 11 and junior guard Leah Buteyn added nine on three 3-pointers in a reserve role.
Watters scored the Rams’ final four points of the fourth quarter including a pair of clutch free throws.
Tiana Colovos, a junior guard, had 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, off the bench for the Rams. Senior guard Logan McCane had nine points, Klausing, a senior guard, had eight and junior guard Brianna Young finished with seven.