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March 11, 2021 - 10:25pm

Reigle's three-point shot with 1.9 seconds left lifts Batavia girls into the Section V Class B1 title game

posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, Batavia High girls basketball, Section V.

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Update, 9:30 a.m. March 12:

The time of Saturday's game at Pal-Mac has been changed to 6 p.m.

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The Batavia Lady Blue Devils' kept their dream of a Section V Class B1 girls' basketball championship alive tonight, but just barely, when star point guard Mackenzie Reigle connected on a step-back three-point shot from the right side with 1.9 seconds left to beat host Midlakes, 51-50.

Reigle's heroics advance third-seeded Batavia, now 10-4, into the title match on Saturday at top-seeded Palmyra-Macedon, 11-3.

Pal-Mac advanced with a 49-32 victory over No. 5 Livonia.

The Lady Devils led by 10 points, 47-37, with about five minutes to play but Midlakes, a sectional champion in 2018 and 2019, staged a furious rally -- scoring 11 consecutive points, capped by senior guard Cara Walker's driving layup with 30 seconds to play.

Reigle responded with an aggressive move to the basket. Her shot went around the rim and out, but she was fouled on the play with :17.4 on the clock. The senior left-hander, who along with Bryn Wormley has played on the varsity team since seventh grade, missed the first foul shot, but made the second to knot the score at 48-48.

Batavia thwarted the Lady Screaming Eagles' first attempt to put the ball in play -- knocking it out of bounds -- but Midlakes was successful in getting it to Walker on the second try and she dribbled the length of the court, untouched, for a layup with 9.1 seconds left to put the home team up 50-48.

After a Batavia timeout, Wormley inbounded the ball to Reigle, who took two dribbles into the right corner, before handing it off to senior guard/forward Haylee Thornley. Two dribbles later, the ball was transferred to Wormley, who headed back to the right corner where Reigle was stationed. 

Wormley was cut off but got the ball to Reigle, who dribbled once, stepped back about a foot behind the three-point line and, with a smooth stroke, lofted the ball over the outstretched arm of Midlakes' Mary Givens. The shot was true, swishing through the net and Batavia had a 51-50 lead.

Midlakes, with no timeouts, got the ball into Walker, but a desperation heave from well beyond the half court line fell way short, prompting a wild celebration on the Batavia bench.

"We had been running 'side W' all night; it had been working pretty good. We were getting Bryn to drive on her right side -- strong side -- and I was on the right side -- strong side -- for the shot," Reigle said about the winning shot. "Bryn didn't get the drive and that (passing the ball to Reigle) is exactly what happened."

Asked what she was thinking when she let it fly, Reigle said, "It better go in."

And it did, much to the joy (and relief) of Head Coach Marty Hein, who had made the tough decision to sit Reigle, who had picked up her fourth foul with 4:25 to play.

Reigle went to the bench at the 3:53 mark with Batavia up 47-42, and Midlakes capitalized with two uncontested layups by sophomore forward Grace Murphy to pull within one. She returned with 2:09 to play and, after consecutive misses by both teams, Midlakes called a timeout with at :35.4.

Five seconds later, Walker drove to the basket and scored to put Midlakes on top for the first time since it led 21-20 in the opening minute of the third quarter -- setting the stage for the frantic finish.

Hein said he weighed his options and decided to take Reigle out for a bit, knowing that the team would need her in the closing moments.

"If she fouled out ... we were kind of down and they were already in the bonus, and we were still at two fouls," Hein said. "Sometimes the officials look at that type of thing and go, 'Well, OK, the next one is close.' We didn't want that to be on Kenzie and she'd be out of the game.

"We still had the lead. If she fouls out, we're in big trouble. So, her sitting for that minute and a half, if that made that back to even (so be it because) we had her there at the end."

Batavia started slowly, scoring only six points as Midlakes, behind Givens' three layups, led 13-6 after one quarter. The home team was up 15-9 with 3:25 left before halftime when the Lady Devils went to a full court press.

While the tight defense stymied Midlakes, it seemed to ignite Batavia on the offensive end as it went on an 11-4 run to lead 20-19 at intermission. Wormley hit a three-pointer and a running one-hander, and Mack Harmon, Thornley and Tess Barone each contributed a basket. 

In the third quarter, three-pointers by Wormley and Reigle gave Batavia a 27-23 lead and the Lady Devils kept that four-point margin, 37-33, heading into the final period.

Batavia then scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to go up 44-33 with 6:50 remaining.

Wormley was the game's high scorer with 21 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Reigle tallied eight assists, eight rebounds and seven steals to go with her 16 points.

Barone had five points, Thornley four, Kennedy Kolb three and Harmon two to round out the Batavia scoring.

For the Lady Screaming Eagles, Givens scored 13, Cara Walker 10, and Callie Walker, Murphy and Hanna Godkin eight apiece.

Midlakes Head Coach Nate Rich said his girls played "pretty good defense on her but sometimes better offense wins."

Rich said "it was a shame either team had to lose as both teams played really well and battled."

"I am proud of my kids for coming back, but you have to tip your hat to her (Reigle). She hit a great shot."

Midlakes, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, ends its season at 9-4.

Photo: Mackenzie Reigle, left, gets ready to celebrate with teammate Haylee Thornley moments after sinking the game-winning basket in Batavia's 51-50 victory over Midlakes on the Clifton Springs school's home court. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

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