"I have never been a part of a double-overtime game," said Purdy coach Grant Young. "This game has to rank in my top three all-time game memories. We never quit and scrapped out a win."
Purdy and Liberal tangled in the district title match last season, and both teams enjoyed great regular seasons this year. The top-seeded Lady Eagles entered the match with a 23-4 record, while the second-seeded Lady Bulldogs had compiled a 23-5 mark.
Liberal made it clear early on that someone on Purdy's team other than Addy Roller was going to have to beat them.
Purdy scored the first 3 points of the game, only to have Hanna Beckwith tie the game 3-3. Each team then went on 4-0 runs, and after one quarter of play, Purdy clung to an 11-7 lead.
The defensive intensity picked up in the second quarter. Missouri Southern State University signee Kori Dodson used her defensive prowess to frustrate Roller in the first two periods. Roller's only points of the first half came at the 5:23 mark of the second period.
The Lady Bulldogs chipped away at the Lady Eagles' lead in the second frame and outscored Purdy 8 to 6 in the second period to trail 17-15 at intermission.
"You really have to credit coach Brandi Goddell and her game plan. Her kids played exceptionally well," said Young. "I told our girls at halftime that we were playing great team ball and that for Addy to have only scored 2 points in the first half and we still had a lead was proof."
Liberal came out of the locker room and quickly seized momentum. The Lady Bulldogs opened the half with a 6-2 run to take their first lead of the game. Roller tied the game at 21-21, but Liberal finished the third period with a 5-4 spurt to lead 26-25 heading into the fourth quarter.
A basket by Purdy's Mattie White, followed by a basket and a 3-pointer by Roller to start the fourth quarter helped Purdy open up a 32-26 lead and forced Liberal to call a timeout with 6:23 left in regulation. Liberal clamped down on the Lady Eagles and held them scoreless the remainder of the quarter.
A basket by Beckwith with 23 seconds to go in regulation tied the game at 32-32. Purdy blew a chance to win the game when they were called for a five seconds inbound violation. Liberal then missed a shot at the buzzer to send the game into an extra session.
The Lady Bulldogs struck first in overtime with Beckwith getting a layup. Roller countered with a layup to tie the game at 34-34. Liberal built a three-point lead with 52 seconds left, but Roller then buried a contested trey from 25 feet out to tie the game at 37-37.
The Lady Bulldogs responded with a layup by Megan Rose with 26 seconds left only to see Roller tie the game again with two free throws and 18 seconds left in the first overtime.
Liberal attempted to hold for the last shot but Krystin Cornman stole the ball to force a second overtime session.
"Our girls were playing with very tired legs," said Young. "Addy's trey was the biggest (shot) of the game without question. To be three or four steps behind the line and drill that on tired legs was amazing."
The Lady Bulldogs cut the lead to one point at 44-43 with 28 seconds left. Roller pushed the lead back to three with two more free throws with 18 seconds left. Liberal, who had answered every big Purdy shot all night, missed a game-tying 3-pointer. Rachel Neill grabbed the rebound for the Lady Eagles and threw an outlet pass to Roller who was then fouled with 3 seconds left.
Of the 15 points Purdy scored in the overtimes, Roller accounted for 14 of them.
"We held on," said Young. "Good teams find ways to win. I am proud of the girls"
Scoring for Liberal were: Beckwith, 23; Rose, Baylee Robertson and Rachel Dugan, 6 each; and Nicole Sprenkle, 2.
Scoring for Purdy were: Roller, 27; White, 8; Neill, 6; Katie Hughes, 5; and Cornman, 1.
The Lady Eagles will face Marionville on Wednesday night in the Class 2 quarterfinal at Republic. The game is set to begin at 6 p.m.