Jessi Morgan drives by the Knox Ambassadors' Ashley Jackson for two of her team-high 21 points Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. (Independent Herald photo/Melanie Garrett)
Jessi Morgan drives by the Knox Ambassadors' Ashley Jackson for two of her team-high 21 points Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. (Independent Herald photo/Melanie Garrett)

 

KNOXVILLE — Oneida had no answer for Ashley Jackson Tuesday night. And they had no answer for an overwhelming disadvantage at the free throw line, as the Knox Ambassadors pulled away for a 74-66 win in overtime at the Emerald Athletic Club.

Oneida coach Marv West could often only watch helplessly on the sideline as his team was whistled for foul after foul. The Ambassadors were in the double bonus less than six minutes into Tuesday's game, and wound up shooting 47 free throws to just 16 for the Lady Indians. Oneida was whistled for 31 fouls on the night, to the Ambassadors' 17.

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Compounding the problem was poor shooting for Oneida — which connected on only 27 percent of its field goal attempts, including seven of 28 3-point tries — and Jackson. The senior, who entered the game averaging 24.7 points per game on the season, scored 47 in Tuesday's game.

Despite those disadvantages, Oneida battled from behind late to force overtime, then appeared to simply run out of gas on a night when foul problems limited the team's depth. Micah Stephens played only nine minutes before eventually fouling out. The Lady Indians' leading scorer left the game with six points.

Jessi Morgan had a season-high 21 to pace the Lady Indians, including a couple of big 3-point shots in the second half.

But Jackson was too much to overcome, connecting on 12 of 20 field goal attempts and shooting a blistering 87 percent — 20 of 23 — from the free throw line.

The game started out as scripted, with the Lady Indians leading most of the way in the first quarter, building a seven-point lead late in the period.

But the Ambassadors would battle back, using a 10-3 run to take a 32-31 lead late in the first half, on a Julie Klenkel bucket. Victoria Williams answered, and Oneida led at the half. But the Ambassadors would use a 14-4 run to surge ahead by four late in the third period and never trailed again.

The Knoxville squad led by six points early in the fourth quarter, but back-to-back 3-point shots by Morgan tied the game. A bucket by Destini Carson, who finished with 10, tied the game at 61 with 53 seconds left, and that's the way it stood when the final horn sounded.

But in overtime, the Ambassadors saw Jackson knock down her third 3-point shot of the night to give themselves a 65-61 lead, and Oneida was unable to recover. A trey by Morgan at the end of the overtime period trimmed the lead to single digits, but was far too little, too late to change the outcome.

Oneida finished the game with five more made field goals than the Ambassadors — 23 to 18, with four of those coming from behind the arch, for a 14-point advantage from the field — a 42-39 rebounding advantage, and only about half as many turnovers, 25-15. But, in the end, the disparity of the free throw line — where the Ambassadors made 35 of 47 shots to just 13 of 16 for Oneida — was simply too much to overcome.

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