ONU trifecta was a dagger to MC’s heart in 1st OT

Marietta College was so close to claiming the women’s program’s first-ever Ohio Athletic Conference basketball regular-season championship late Saturday afternoon at Ban Johnson Arena.

How close?

Like, 10 seconds close in the first overtime.

With that much time remaining, the Pioneers (21-4 overall, 14-4 OAC) led No. 21-ranked Ohio Northern University (21-4, 15-3), 79-76.

With that much time left, ONU called a 30-second timeout.

With that much time on the game clock, everyone at the BanJo knew the Polar Bears needed a three to send the contest into a second OT.

But who was going to take that shot?

Only the Ohio Northern team huddled on the sideline during the TO knew for certain.

Over at the other huddle, Marietta knew what it had to do to secure the victory and the title: defend the arc, because a two-pointer wasn’t going to get it done for ONU.

What the Pioneers didn’t know, though, was which Polar Bear was going to attempt the 3-ball.

So, when the two huddles broke and play was resumed, ONU senior guard Lindsey Black got the ball to senior Amy Bullimore near the top of the arc?

Bullimore?

What’s going on here?

Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.

The 6-foot-1 pivot player and the OAC’s leading scorer hadn’t made a three all winter long. That’s just not her shot. But she never hesitated launching it.

And…and…nothing but net.

The game was tied with about two seconds remaining.

“That was my first one (3-pointer) of the year,” said Bullimore after the game. “I’ve only taken seven.

“But that was the plan and the play (during the ONU timeout).”

Needless to say, the MC team and the 1,042 fans in attendance were stunned beyond belief.

“I wouldn’t have had someone 0-for-7 (on the season) shoot a three,” said Pioneer head coach Kole Vivian. “I didn’t think she’d make one. She hadn’t made one all year. But that’s basketball sometimes.”

Marietta still had a little time remaining to win it, but senior sharpshooter Brooke Borich was under a lot of ONU defensive pressure when she missed a 3-ball attempt at the buzzer.

In the second overtime, MC never led and was outpointed, 14-6, by Ohio Northern, which won 93-85.

Bullimore finished with a team-high 25 points, and all of them except the trifecta came in or around the paint — and at the free-throw line (4-5).

When the ONU post fouled out with 1:10 left, the Polar Bears were up two, 87-85…and Marietta never scored again.

This week, the OAC Tournament is scheduled to tip off, and there’s a good chance that second-seeded Marietta and top-seeded Ohio Northern could meet again. If that happens — and it’s a big IF — the tourney championship game would be played at the ONU Sports Center in Ada, Ohio.

“We’ll be all right with that,” Vivian said.

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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