EAST ROCKHILL >> Great players take over games. When their team is all but down and out they have an ability to will them back and raise not only their own level of play, but the level of play of those around them.
Tuesday night we saw exactly that from Faith Christian guard Ashley Forker as she guided her team to a 51-49 overtime victory over Christopher Dock in the Bicentennial Athletic League tournament quarterfinals.
With just a minute left in regulation the Lions looked to be out of it, down 45-38, but Forker hit a three, converted at the foul line for two more on the next possession, and hit a miraculous shot with two seconds left to tie the game and bring them all the way back.
“I definitely did (try and take over),” Forker said. “I just kept looking at the clock and noticed that we weren’t closing the margin. I love my teammates and they always tell me I just need to take over sometimes, sometimes I don’t think its right but that’s what they needed me to do tonight and I was really glad we were able to get that win for the team tonight though.”
That final shot in regulation was not an easy look, either. She caught the ball on the right hand side of the court, just outside the 3-point line, took a couple dribbles, split two defenders, got to the rim and hit a floater in traffic just in the nick of time.
“I kind of just let it flow and come to me,” said Forker about her last second shot. “I definitely wanted to attack to score but whatever was there I was going to take.”
Forker finished with a game-high 22, adding all four of her team’s points in the overtime session as well.
Perhaps most impressive about her performance was not the 22 points, but her court vision and ability to find her teammates in almost any situation early on.
“Ashley is unselfish and looks to get everyone around her involved first usually,” Faith Christian head coach Dave Forker said. “But when the games winding down, if we have to score, she does have another mode where she attacks and tonight she was able to get to the hole and finish, she did a great job.”
Even though it was all FCA as time wound down, this really was a game controlled by Dock for almost the entire first four quarters.
The Pioneers got a great performance from Megan Swintosky as she scored 14 points and dominated the paint. She had nine in the first quarter, connecting on all four of her field goal attempts, and really had her way with the FCA interior defense.
That strong inside presence let them sprint out to a 15-7 lead after the first quarter and hold a 22-17 lead going into half.
Unfortunately for Dock, the Pioneers got away from that as the game went on and she didn’t have a chance to really score down the stretch.
“She (Swintosky) played really well early on and then we kind of got away from it,” said Dock head coach Al Grenfell. “That’s just inexperience because we’re used to being a jump shot team but we should have kept getting it in to her.”
The most frustrating part of this one when they look back at the film will be the missed opportunities. Six times the Pioneers missed uncontested layups that could have ended up being the difference in the game.
Faith Christian was relentless with its full-court press but Dock was able to break it more times than not, they just couldn’t finish at the hoop.
“We just need to finish layups,” Grenfell said. “I think we missed eight of them, four in the beginning of the game, two after we broke the pressure, and they were wide open looks. But really it’s a learning experience, we have a lot of young girls.”
Even though this one stings for the Pioneers, they’ll have their chance at revenge as these two are set to face-off again, one final time this year, in the first round of the District 1-A tournament.
“This is definitely something to build on,” said Grenfell when looking towards they’re rematch on Friday. “They beat us down the stretch but they’ve got to be scared of us, we played a good game.”