CLAYTON — After leading by as many as 10 points Saturday the Northmont girls varsity basketball team barely escaped with a one point victory over Central Division rival Fairmont.
With the victory Northmont improved to 6-4 overall and to 1-1 in division play while Fairmont dropped to 3-5 and 0-1.
The game was intense in more ways than one. Not only are the two teams division rivals, it pitted sisters Amy and Bethany Kincer against each other. Amy is Fairmont’s assistant varsity coach while Bethany is the head coach at Northmont.
Bethany acknowledged it felt good to beat her big sister.
“It did feel good. That game against Fairmont has a little bit extra to it with my sister coaching for them, so it definitely was a good win and it’s just a good win to beat Fairmont in general,” Kincer said.
Northmont jumped out to a 13-4 lead by the end of the first quarter and led 19-9 midway through the second quarter. Trailing by eight at halftime Fairmont began chipping away at the Lady Bolts lead. Mariah Roe, who accounted for 11 of Fairmont’s 16 first half points, scored four more points in the third quarter and Jennifer Nischwitz hit a pair of 3-pointers with Emily Hughes and Madison Connally-Banks adding one basket each as the Lady Firebirds closed the gap to 34-30 entering the final period.
Fairmont took a 35-34 lead and the teams swapped leads until Fairmont tied the game 40-40 on a rebound and basket by Connally-Banks. Northmont called timeout with nine second left and on the ensuing inbounds play senior guard Denissa Sly tried to squeeze between a pair of Fairmont defenders and fell to the court. Northmont quickly called timeout again with five seconds left and it appeared the game was headed to overtime.
The Lady Bolts managed to get the ball into scoring position and into the hands of Erin Mangen, who had already hit a trio of 3-pointers on the day to finish as the team’s leading scorer with 14. Mangen pulled up to attempt another trey, got off the shot and was fouled. Mangen only managed to sink one of three shots from the foul line, but it was enough to lift Northmont to a 41-40 victory. With only three seconds left Fairmont couldn’t get off a shot before the buzzer sounded.
Sister Anna Mangen also hit double figures with 10 points and a trio of 3-pointers and led the team with nine rebounds, six offensive, three defensive.
“I don’t know how long it has been since we’ve taken Fairmont down,” Kincer stated. “We played well as a team. They kind of a gave us a scare. We got some offensive rebounds at the end. Teams like Fairmont are going to keep fighting and come back, but we held out and the tide turned our way and we knocked down a free throw at the end of the game when we needed it.”
Northmont shot 50 percent from 3-point range and hit more shots from beyond the arc, seven, than two points goals with only five.
“We’ve been shooting really well, which is promising since we’ve been struggling against the zone so it’s nice to see us shoot well from the outside,” Kincer added.
FMT 04 16 30 40 – 40
NMT 13 24 34 41 – 41
Fairmont: Mariah Roe 17, Jennifer Nischwitz 6, Emily Hughes 6, Jamie Pacenta 3, Meghan Donoher 2, Madison Connally-Banks 6. Totals: 13-10-40.
Northmont: Cory Mangen 5, Anna Mangen 10, Ashley Jones 2, Erin Mangen 14, Denissa Sly 4, Shalaya Heath 2, Alexia Payne 4. Totals: 12-10-41.
3-point goals: Fairmont 4 (Nischwitz 2, Hughes, Pacenta); Northmont 7 (Anna Mangen 3, Erin Mangen 3, Cory Mangen).
Records: Fairmont 3-5 (0-1), Northmont 6-4 (1-1).