The Helias Lady Crusaders fought their way into extra time Monday afternoon.
But overtime wasn't kind. Taleah Dilworth of Lutheran North made sure of that.
Dilworth scored nine of her team's 11 points in the four extra minutes as Lutheran North topped Helias 60-54 in a clash of Lady Crusaders at Rackers Fieldhouse.
"Coming into the game, we knew we couldn't let her drive to the rim," Helias coach Alan Lepper said. "But we didn't have anybody play help defense and she made us pay for that.
"We were soft."
Lepper believes that lack of physicality played a big role in Monday's decision.
"The biggest thing for the entire game was we played softer than they did," he said "We can't play soft against teams like this, we can't play soft against anybody. When we're getting pushed out, you can't rely on an official to make a call, we have to fight for that position."
Lutheran North scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to double its lead to 42-34 with a little more than six minutes left in regulation. Down by six with 2:52 remaining, Helias went on a 7-0 run in a little more than two minutes, capped by a 3-pointer by Kylie Bernskoetter after an Emily Harrison steal that made it 49-48.
That was Helias' first lead since late in the second quarter.
Cynna Coleman hit one of two free throws with :18.8 left to pull Lutheran North into a tie at 49. Helias missed a shot on the ensuing possession, but the rebound went off Lutheran North and the home Lady Crusaders called a timeout to set up a play with :04.9 remaining.
But Helias was unable to get a shot off before the buzzer and the game went to overtime.
"It was there, we just didn't execute," Lepper said. "It was open, we just didn't execute the play we had called."
Dilworth drove for a layup on the first possession of overtime before Lainy Lamb of Helias tied it with a pair of free throws with 3:35 remaining.
Dilworth answered with two free throws of her own on the next trip down the floor to give Lutheran North the lead for good. A layup by MaKayla Williams increased Lutheran North's lead to 55-51 before Alisha Berhorst answered with a bucket with 2:30 left to cut Helias' deficit to two.
But that was as close as Helias could get. Dilworth made a layup with 1:35 to play, then hit three-of-four free throws to make it 60-53 with a little less than :40 remaining. Harrison made a free throw with :08 left to account for the final point of the game.
Helias, which had been shooting free throws well recently, was just 9-of-17 from the line Monday. That included six straight misses in a stretch spanning a little more than two quarters.
"I don't think it's a mental thing, we just missed them today," Lepper said. "If we hit those, we're not going to overtime."
Dilworth and Kayla Sullivan finished with 17 points each for Lutheran North (7-6), ranked No. 3 in Class 3 by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association.
Lamb had 17 points in a perfect shooting day for Helias. She was 2-of-2 on 2s, 3-of-3 on 3-pointers and 4-of-4 at the free-throw line.
"She's getting back to where she needs to be after her injury," Lepper said. "Her confidence is there with her shot and we're going to need that."
Lindsey Byers and Rylee Kolb chipped in with 10 points each for Helias before both fouled out.
"When you have kids sitting on the bench, that's an opportunity for other kids to step up and make plays and we didn't have enough of that," Lepper said. "We keep waiting for somebody else to score."
Helias (6-7) will play Jefferson City on Monday at Fleming Fieldhouse. The JV game will start at 5:30 p.m., with the varsity contest to follow around 7 p.m.
There was no JV game Monday.