Prep Basketball

Alepra's save, Dolphin's shot send Kennedy past Washington

Cougars claim 5A regional semifinal in OT, 83-81

The Cedar Rapids Kennedy girls’ basketball team celebrates after their 83-81 overtime win over Cedar Rapids Washington in a Class 5A regional semifinal Saturday at Washington High School. (Ben Roberts/Freelance)
The Cedar Rapids Kennedy girls’ basketball team celebrates after their 83-81 overtime win over Cedar Rapids Washington in a Class 5A regional semifinal Saturday at Washington High School. (Ben Roberts/Freelance)

CEDAR RAPIDS — It would have been unjust had the final shot of Hailey Dolphin’s high school basketball career been a missed free throw.

She got an opportunity for a reprieve. And she nailed it.

Dolphin hit a 3-pointer in the dying moments of overtime to give Cedar Rapids Kennedy an 83-81 win over Cedar Rapids Washington in a Class 5A regional-semifinal thriller Saturday night at Washington High School.

“We kept fighting,” Dolphin said after the Cougars (11-11) erased a 17-point third-quarter deficit to force overtime, then win it at the end. “I don’t even remember the (missed) free throw. I remember Auddie (Alepra) saving the ball and giving me another chance.

“I’m so thankful it went in.”

Let’s set the stage:

Sammy Mia gave Washington (12-9) an 81-79 lead with 30 seconds left, then Dolphin was fouled on a drive at the 14-second mark. She made the first free throw, then missed the second.

Alepra was able to track down the loose ball and bat it to Dolphin on the left wing. Dolphin nailed the shot with six seconds left to put the Cougars in front.

Washington’s Caitlin Riley followed with a 3-pointer of her own ... a moment after Warriors Coach Chris James called timeout.

“I messed up,” James said.

The Warriors got the ball out of bounds at midcourt with 0.2 seconds left, but couldn’t get a shot off.

And thus ended a classic. Kennedy avenged a pair of regular-season losses to the Warriors, and advanced to Tuesday’s regional final at No. 4 Johnston (19-3), an 82-38 winner over No. 15 Sioux City West.

“I’ve been around a long time, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to explain that one,” Kennedy Coach Tony Vis said. “A lot of little things went right to help us get back in the game.”

Washington led 43-26 early in the third quarter, and still appeared in control at 70-59 with just over 2 minutes left in regulation.

But the Cougars scored 13 points in a 102-second frenzy to take the lead. Alepra nailed a 3-pointer to tie it, then Sadie Powell’s two free throws put Kennedy in front, 72-70.

Riley scored from the lane with 15 seconds left in regulation to send it to overtime.

Dolphin finished with a career-high 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to offset a balanced Washington attack in which five players reached double figures. Riley led the Warriors with 19 points.

CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 83, CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON 81 (OT)

Class 5A Regional Semifinal, at C.R. Washington

C.R. KENNEDY (83): Hailey Dolphin 12-24 6-8 34, Madison Friauf 4-10 1-1 10, Sadie Powell 2-6 2-2 6, Olivia Hellweg 5-10 0-0 11, Auddie Alepra 3-6 2-4 9, Camryn Ray 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Vis 1-2 0-0 3, Laila Sain 1-1 0-0 2, Tessa Steffen 0-2 0-0 0, Sophia Barrett 0-0 0-0 0, Lauryn Vaske 3-4 0-0 8. Totals 31-65 11-15 83.

C.R. WASHINGTON (81): Caitlin Riley 6-10 5-6 19, Vanessa Eniola 5-9 0-1 11, Isa Truemper 5-5 0-0 14, Sammy Mia 6-12 2-3 14, Jayla Johnson 4-6 1-2 9, Sydney Mitvalsky 5-9 0-0 11, Brittany Postma 0-2 1-2 1, Skyla Atkins 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 32-54 9-14 81.

Halftime: Washington 36, Kennedy 24. End of regulation: 72-72. 3-point goals: Kennedy 10-23 (Dolphin 4-6, Friauf 1-6, Powell 0-2, Hellweg 1-2, Alepra 1-1, Vis 1-2, Steffen 0-1, Vaske 2-3), Washington 8-13 (Riley 2-4, Eniola 1-1, Truemper 4-4, Mitvalsky 1-3, Postma 0-1). Team fouls: Kennedy 14, Washington 12. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Kennedy 35 (Dolphin 10), Washington 28 (Eniola, Johnson 5). Assists: Kennedy 11 (Hellweg 4), Washington 13 (Eniola 4). Steals: Kennedy 12 (Dolphin 4), Washington 6 (Eniola 2). Turnovers: Kennedy 14, Washington 16.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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