PORTER TOWNSHIP | Boone Grove came into John F. Hinkey gym wearing Santa hats Saturday night.
The Wolves then proceeded to give Times No. 5 Whiting the gift of going 3-of-18 from the free throw line en route to a 61-55 overtime win for the Oilers.
The free throw line is exactly where Citlali Lopez won it for Whiting, hitting five of six in the final 1:30 of OT to secure the victory.
"I know I have to believe in myself and I had to step up," Lopez said. "I was a little nervous, I have to admit."
Lopez and Abby Bondi seemed to come up with a big shot every time Boone got something going, often from behind the arc.
Lopez led the game with 29 points, including four 3-pointers while Bondi pitched in 17 and three 3-pointers.
"That's the kind of kid (Lopez) is. She wants the ball in her hands come crunch time," Oilers coach Kevin Moynihan said.
Whiting (11-0) was even awarded extra shots from the charity stripe with 27 seconds left. Bondi was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and referees said Boone Grove had a player on the court who was not in the official scorebook.
Bondi then hit three of the five free throws to give the OIlers a 50-48 lead.
A Claudia Cooper steal and Sarah Brown bucket forced overtime.
"They hit everything (from the free throw line) and we couldn't hit anything and that's pretty big in this game," Boone Grove coach Candy Wilson said. "Free throws were ultimately the game."
Whiting was 23-of-30 shooting free throws. Lopez alone was 13-for-15.
Boone (8-4) began the second quarter with an 11-0 run, during which Whiting center Alex Danielides picked up her third foul. Danielides sat for the last five minutes of the first half.
The 6-foot freshman picked up her fourth foul just 30 seconds after returning in the third quarter.
"When you have your five sitting on the bench most of the game against a team that big, we really have to fight for every rebound that we get," Moynihan said. "(Boone Grove) had a lot of second shots in the second half."
Paige Aguilera had 25 points, nine rebounds and seven steals for the Wolves. Brianna Blackwell pitched in 10 points for Whiting.
"We're obviously not pleased unless we win, but I thought this was a game we should've won," Wilson said. "We had them on their backs at the end there."