The Lady Chaparrals played a hard fought game against the Moraine Valley Cyclones Tuesday night, but fell just short, losing 57-55.
The 7 ranked Chaps were coming off of a 61-52 victory and had won four of their last five games.
The team was clearly looking to keep the early season momentum going.
The game started out shaky for the Chaps as the Cyclones quickly jumped out in front with an 11-3 lead.
The Chaps’ offense seemed to have a difficult time gaining any offensive rhythm with many of their first possessions ending in missed field goals and turnovers.
The Cyclones continued their early dominance and extended their lead to 14, midway through the first half.
Down 22-8, the Lady Chaps did not get rattled and the team began an impressive comeback sparked by the offensive play of guard Sarah Lang.
Lang knocked in two shots from downtown and had a clean assist to center Melissa Niggins who finished with a bucket under the hoop.
The Cyclones started getting sloppy with the ball themselves and the Chaps made sure to capitalize on the turnovers.
The team went on a 13-0 run to bring the game within one with four minutes to go in the first half.
Moraine Valley was able to end their scoreless streak and maintain their lead, 26-25, as the buzzer sounded, but the Lady Chaps ended the half on a strong 17-4 run.
In the second half of play, the Lady Chaps were not able to continue where they left off in the first.
Both teams’ offenses were slowed down, each going on numerous scoring droughts.
Even though this meant the score stayed close, it also meant that the Lady Chaps struggled to get ahead in the game.
As the clock ticked down to its final moments, the Cyclones took a four point lead with 30 seconds to play.
Chaps forward Donna Koerber banked in a jumper with 17 seconds to go, making the score 54-52.
The team’s defense had to foul and after the Cyclones hit both their free throws, Chaps sophomore guard Jazmin Little drilled a clutch three-pointer with 3.7 seconds left on the clock.
After a Chaparral foul, Moraine Valley headed to the line to shoot two very important free throws.
Moraine Valley nailed the first one but on the second, the ball clanked off the rim and the Chaps swiftly rebounded it.
Head Coach Cris Cotton immediately called timeout to set up for the final shot with 1.4 seconds left in regulation.
However, their destiny was sealed when the inbound pass was intercepted by a Cyclone defender as time expired. The Lady Chaps were dealt a 57-55 loss.
It could be argued that the game came down to which team could hit their free throws and unfortunately, the Chaps were not this team.
They were plagued by poor free throw shooting, hitting just 42 percent from the line in the second half.
The Lady Chaps will now go on a three game road trip starting with Kennedy-King College Thursday Nov. 29.