Johnson Hits Buzzer Beater to Advance Lady Patriots to Finals
No. 4 seed Arlington Baptist 92, No. 1 seed Kentucky Christian 89
JOPLIN, Mo. — Tied at 89, with 1.1 seconds in the game and Kentucky Christian set to inbound, Jade Johnson was focused on not letting the Lady Knights get off a final shot, or fouling someone 90 feet from the basket. The last thing on her mind was hitting a game-winning shot.
Especially a game winning 3-pointer when she had yet to attempt a 3-point shot the entire season.
Johnson, a 5-foot-8 sophomore guard from Houston, Texas, stole the inbound pass and lofted a deep 3 from the right elbow that hit nothing but net as it fell through the basket to lift Arlington Baptist College to 92-89 victory over Kentucky Christian University in the semifinals of the NCCAA Women’s Division II National Basketball Championship Friday night at the Ozark Christian College Multipurpose Building.
The Patriots (22-6) trailed by as much as 19 in the second half and needed a seven-foot jumper from Tori Wise with 1.3 seconds left to tie the game at 89.
After a timeout, Arlington Baptist coach Kristi McDaniel told the defense two important items.
“Coach said don’t let them get an easy look and don’t foul 90 feet from the basket,” Johnson said.
“We were in a man defense and my player cut to the left, the pass was tipped and I grabbed it. I was going to just hold it but Morgan (Hale) hollered to shoot it and I just let it go. Honestly, it felt good as soon as I let it go … the celebration afterward was amazing. It’s incredible when you consider I have not attempted a 3 all season.”
Kentucky Christian (19-11) opened an 88-84 lead with 24 seconds left on two free throws by Katelyn Meyer. Hale quickly answered with her third 3-pointer from the right elbow with 13.6 seconds left for an 88-87 game.
Paige Warren hit the second of two charities with 13 seconds left allowing Wise to tie the game with 1.3 left.
Hale, a 5-foot-6 Sophomore guard, finished with 26 points on 8 of 15 shooting from the floor and 7 of 10 from the free throw line. Johnson finished with 21 points and Sophomore guard Hannah McGaughy had 17 points for the Patriots.
Junior forward Jana Glick led the Lady Knights with 26 points on 13 of 16 shooting. NCCAA Division II player of the year Tonya Bowen had 22 points before fouling out with three minutes left to play. Senior forward Sharonda Jones added 18 points and nine rebounds.
Arlington Baptist will play in its second straight national championship game in Joplin in two weeks — the Patriots lost to Hillsdale Free Will Baptist for the ACCA crown last Saturday — at 7 p.m. Saturday against the winner of the Pensacola, Fla., Christian College vs. Maranatha Baptist University.