PARSONS — Aashka Patel's long-range accuracy propelled the Parsons Vikings to a 55-53 victory over the visiting Chanute Blue Comets Friday night.
In a seesaw fourth quarter that featured several lead changes, Patel's triple from the right corner trimmed the Vikings' deficit to 50-49 with two minutes remaining in regulation.
Preston Keating's lay-in on the ensuing possession gave the Blue Comets some breathing room, but missed opportunities by both squads at the charity stripe left the Blue Comets with a 53-50 advantage and possession with less than a minute remaining.
Parsons' bleak outlook quickly changed after the Blue Comets were whistled for a 3-second violation with 48.5 seconds remaining. Chanute's miscue set the stage for a dramatic finish, as Patel again drilled a 3 from the right corner, knotting the contest at 53-53 with 35 seconds remaining and sending the home fans into a frenzy.
Tyra Bogle’s drive to the basket with 10 seconds remaining was snuffed out by a collapsing Vikings’ defense. On the other end of the court, Briona Patterson corralled an outlet pass, drove hard to the rim and was fouled. With 2.5 seconds showing, Patterson stepped to the line and calmly knocked down both free throws, handing the Vikings a 55-53 lead. Peyton Shields’ desperation heave at the buzzer was off-target, as the Vikings (14-6 overall) secured the hard-fought Senior Night victory.
The tightly-contested matchup was tied 10-10 at the conclusion of the opening frame, and 25-apiece at the half. The Blue Comets opened the third a on a 6-0 run, Patel’s one-handed floater capped a quick 5-0 run, slicing the Blue Comet lead to 31-30.
Chanute again opened a five-point lead, as Shields' bank-in 3 from near the top of the key put the Blue Comets up 37-32. The Vikings replied with a 6-0 blitz to close out the frame, highlighted by Iniya Hinman’s close-range bucket in the paint for a 38-37 lead.
Proving key to the Vikings’ fortunes was their success attacking Chanute’s 1-3-1 zone defense. This was evident on the opening play of the fourth quarter as Patel slashed into the lane and dished to Hinman for the lay-in, and a 40-37 Parsons’ lead. Near the midpoint of the frame, Hinman crashed the offensive glass and dropped in an easy bucket, giving the Vikings a 45-43 edge. The Blue Comets regained the lead with 3:05 remaining via Keating’s 3-ball from the right wing, followed by a Kierny Follmer low-post bucket for a 50-46 advantage.
The Vikings closed out strong, with Patel’s lethal accuracy proving to be the difference-maker.
“It was a huge 3,” said Vikings head coach Patrick Schibi, noting it’s precisely how he drew up Patel’s ultra-dramatic game-tying triple.
Schibi told his squad that Patel had been wide-open in the corner on the Vikings’ previous offensive possession, with the play ultimately resulting in a turnover.
“We told them to look for Aashka in the corner and that’s exactly what happened,” Schibi said, as Patel actually passed back to Patterson before getting the ball kicked back to her for the wide-open look that busted the Blue Comets’ zone.
“We had just seen that the play before,” Schibi said. “We played with a lot of heart and hit some big shots and key free throws.”
Chanute entered on a three-game win streak — arguably its hottest stretch of play the entire season.
“We wanted to get the ball in the middle and attack their 1-3-1 zone,” Schibi said. “Every time we did, good things happened.”
Schibi said he strongly suspected that the Blue Comets would lean heavily upon the zone look.
“We knew they were going to run a 1-3-1 the whole game. They did, and they’re good at it,” Schibi said.
Schibi lauded his squad for its particularly strong rebounding performance, with Parsons collecting 17 offensive rebounds on the night.
“We did a much better job of hitting the offensive boards, and that’s something we’ve been working on in practice,” he said.
Schibi was also pleased that his bench was able to pick up the slack. Both Hinman and Sydney Schibi fouled out, while Patterson was saddled with three personal fouls. Patterson, the Vikes lone senior, collected all five of her points in the fourth, including 3-of-4 from the charity stripe.
“She hit the two free throws that pretty much sealed it,” Schibi said.
Schibi has become increasingly confident in his club as the season has progressed.
“I feel like we’ve been able to develop some bench depth, and it’s been a big key for us,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep working hard and not be satisfied.”
While the Class 4 East Sub-State seeding was not quite yet available in the immediate aftermath of the game, Schibi noted that the victory could prove big for seeding purposes. He was correct, as the Vikings moved up a line to the 5-seed and will host No. 12 Holton on Wednesday night.
“The win tonight might have helped us move up to the 5-seed instead of a 6,” he said.
Tip-off for Wednesday night’s clash has yet to be announced.
“We’ve proved that we can beat pretty much anybody when we play good,” Schibi said. “So hopefully this gives us some momentum going into sub-state.”
Schibi did mention a few teams he was hopeful of avoiding.
“As long as we don’t meet Topeka-Hayden or Bishop Miege, we’re happy because we know we’ve got a chance,” he said.
Chanute head coach Dustin Fox was pleased with his squad’s effort in the regular-season finale.
“I was proud of the way we competed and thought we did a lot of good things,” he said. “We just made a couple mistakes late that cost us.”
The Blue Comets were as close as close can get, Fox said.
“We were there in prime position to knock off the No. 10 team in the state at their place. You can’t fault anything up to that point,” he said. “We’ll learn from this game and be better because of it.”
With Chanute’s bench depth hit by injuries, Fox said he was thrilled that several players stepped up in their absence. Keating was one, knocking down four 3’s enroute to a season-high 15 points.
With sub-state looming, the Blue Comets are trending in the right direction.
“I don’t think we’ve peaked yet — but I think we’re peaking,” Fox said, “and that’s a good place to be.”
The No. 13 seed Blue Comets (7-13 overall) square off against No. 4 Louisburg in the sub-state opener Wednesday. Tip-time for the contest at Louisburg has yet to be announced.
“The girls believe and I believe,” Fox said. “We know that if play the way we’re capable of playing we’ll give ourselves a chance against just about anyone.”
Parsons 55, Chanute 53
Chanute: 10 15 12 16 — 53
Parsons: 10 15 13 17 — 55
Parsons: Iniya Hinman 18, Sydney Schibi 12, Saylah Rea 9, Aashka Patel 8, Briona Patterson 5, Riley Dunlay 3
Chanute: Payton Shields 18, Preston Keating 15, Tyra Bogle 8, Kierny Follmer 6, Kelsey Haviland 3, AnnaKate Noonan 3
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