Ifeanyi Ofili missed portions of the game with foul trouble and she scored just two points in the first three quarters. The Uniondale point guard may have languished offensively in regulation, but when the Knights needed a clutch performance in overtime, Ofili delivered.
Ofili scored all five of her team's points in overtime and her lone basket in the fourth quarter tied the score in Uniondale's 44-43 win over host Baldwin on Friday night in Nassau Conference AA-I girls basketball.
Uniondale (6-4, 5-0) inbounded with 13 seconds left in OT trailing 43-42. Siara Lowry (10 points) passed it to Ofili (nine points) cutting to the basket and Ofili converted with six seconds left.
"I had foul trouble and it didn't help me get into a rhythm on offense," Ofili said. "In overtime, I knew the game was on the line. Siara gave me a good pass and I came off a screen to get open."
Said Lowry: "We wanted to attack the basket. I saw the defender trailing her and gave it to her. Her defense and leadership really helped us."
Ofili hit a free throw with 3:21 left in overtime to give Uniondale a 40-39 lead. Baldwin's Courtney Jackson got a steal and scored to put the Bruins ahead 41-40 with 2:37 left.
Ofili forced a steal near midcourt and took it in for a layup and a 42-41 Knights lead with 2:09 left. Jackson got another steal for a layup with 1:15 remaining, giving Baldwin a 43-42 lead before Ofili's final bucket.
Baldwin (7-2, 3-1) had two opportunities to tie the score in the final six seconds. Shayna Gatling, who picked up her fourth foul with 4:40 left in the third quarter and didn't return until there was 5:13 left in regulation, was called for a charge with two seconds left in the game for her fifth foul.
After Ofili's attempted inbounds hit the ceiling, Baldwin inbounded the ball with two seconds left and Alex Hampton (10 points) missed a three-pointer as time expired.
Neither team led by more than three points in the second half. A drive by Gatling and a putback by Kalin Russell gave Baldwin a 39-36 lead with 1:07 left in regulation.
Myajha Elston hit a three-pointer with 47 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 39 for Uniondale.
"I told her to go to the basket since her shot wasn't going down," Uniondale coach Danielle Nichol said of Elston. "She apparently decided she was feeling it. She came through with a big shot."