Osage finally cracked the dreaded 34-point barrier against Eldon and in the process wrote the final chapter to one of the best basketball seasons in Lady Mustangs history. Osage's senior guard tandem of Summer Dean and Tara Allman combined for 29 points as the Lady Indians held off a late comeback attempt to win 36-34 Tuesday night in the Class 4, District 10 semifinals at Eldon High School.
Osage finally cracked the dreaded 34-point barrier against Eldon and in the process wrote the final chapter to one of the best basketball seasons in Lady Mustangs history.
Osage's senior guard tandem of Summer Dean and Tara Allman combined for 29 points as the Lady Indians held off a late comeback attempt to win 36-34 Tuesday night in the Class 4, District 10 semifinals at Eldon High School.
"We made a lot of little mistakes that Osage took advantage of," said Eldon coach Tony Pace. "It came back to bite us at the end."
Because Osage had scored exactly 34 points against Eldon in its previous two meetings this season, both losses, Lady Indians coach Scott Rowland had a slight feeling of déjà vu with his team clinging to a small lead in the final minutes.
"I was talking with (Eldon athletic director) Shannon Jolley before the game and I said, 'If they get to 35, I'm just giving (coaching duties) to the assistants and leaving," Rowland cracked. "And I'll be dang, it comes down to 36-34."
Trying to lock up the game at the free throw line, Osage twice missed the front end of one and ones in the final minute to keep Eldon alive.
The first miss, by Dean, occurred with 38 seconds to go and Eldon trailing 35-33. On the Lady Mustangs' ensuing possession, Jordyn Schmidt was fouled on a short jump shot attempt.
She went 1-for-2 at the line to get Eldon within 35-34. After forcing a tie-up on Dean, Eldon fouled Allman with 16.9 seconds remaining.
Allman also missed her front end attempt, giving Eldon a chance to shoot for the lead. But Allman then forced Ashley Hogan into a turnover to give possession back to Osage.
The Lady Indians in-bounded the ball and ran the clock down to 4.4 seconds. Dean was fouled and made her first free throw attempt. After she missed the second try, Eldon got the rebound and called timeout with 3 seconds on the clock.
A desperation full-court pass failed to land in the hands of any Lady Mustang before time expired.
Eldon, which finishes the season 21-5 overall, was held under 45 points for just the seventh time. The Lady Mustangs were 2-5 in those games.
"Our thing all season has been, if we get to 45 points we don't lose," Pace said. "It's not a specific defense that has given us trouble. Just some nights we have trouble getting the ball in the hole."
It was still a banner season for Eldon, co-champions in the Tri-County Conference.
Except for a dominant four-year run nearly 20 years ago, only one other Lady Mustang team in program history has won 20 or more games.
"We're going to be alright next season," Pace said.
Dean finished with 17 points and Allman added 12. The two scored Osage's first 18 points.
Senior Megan Humphrey scored 12 and freshman Sara Rhine finished with 11 points for Eldon.
Osage threw multiple defenses at Eldon, most of them focused on containing Rhine. The Lady Indians used man-to-man, zones and box-and-one looks to force Eldon to find scoring from a player other than its star freshman.
"We wanted to make it tough for (Rhine) to move and come to the ball," Rowland said. "But when she caught it, we were also supposed to get on her right shoulder so when she turns, we take away that drive."
Six of Rhine's 11 points came in the first quarter.
"She's just a good player," Rowland said. "You're not going to take away everything from her. But we made her work for it."
The final basket of the first half, by freshman Izzy Morris, put Osage ahead 20-18 at halftime. Eldon never led in the second half.
Shelynna Luttrell's lone basket of the game put the Lady Indians ahead 31-25 early in the fourth quarter.
Osage had foul issues for most of the second half. Dean picked up her fourth foul late in the third quarter. She and Allman played with four fouls apiece in the final period.
Luttrell fouled out with 3:08 remaining in the game and Tiffany Urwiler committed her fifth and final foul in the last minute.
Osage, playing for a district title for the second year in a row but only the third time in program history, faces Helias Catholic at 6 p.m Friday. The Lady Crusaders beat Fulton 43-34 in Tuesday's opening semifinal game.
Osage 7 13 8 8 36
Eldon 12 6 7 9 34
Osage scoring — Summer Dean 17, Tara Allman 12, Izzy Morris 3, Kelsey Abbott 2, Shelynna Luttrell 2
Eldon scoring — Megan Humphrey 12, Sara Rhine 11, Jordyn Schmidt 5, Ashley Hogan 4, Rachel Jones 1, Nikki Halderman 1