Talk about a tough turnaround.
Just 24 hours after going toe-to-toe for six draining periods against the Ellington Lady Whippets in a hard-fought semi-final loss, the Alton Lady Comets were rewarded with a clash with the homestanding Lady Bobcats of Thayer for third place in the 33rd annual Thayer Winter Classic.
And though they no doubt were still weary from their double overtime upset at the hands of Ellington the previous night, the top-seeded Lady Comets managed to find enough gas in their tanks to move past third-seeded Thayer 48-46 Jan. 19.
Alton overcame a seven-point deficit late in the third period to emerge with a two-point win.
Jessica Bailey came up huge for Alton during its comeback march, as she jacked three game-changing treys over the course of two minutes.
With Thayer holding a 33-26 lead with 25 ticks left on the third period clock, Bailey (nine points) went to work.
She drained her first 3-ball and then Shelli Ellis (six points) poked the ball loose from Thayer, turning the steal into a layup that pulled Alton within two, 33-31, after three.
Then it was on to Bailey time.
She knocked down her second 3-pointer to open the final frame, giving the Lady Comets their first lead of the game, 34-33.
Kaley Herbert (six points) interrupted this Alton run with a layup, but Bailey simply canned another trey to give the Lady Comets a 37-35 lead.
The Lady Cats, too, know a thing or two about timely shots from beyond the arc, and Krysta Adams proved this to be true by jacking her fourth 3-ball of the night, this one with 3:28 left to play, giving Thayer a 40-39 lead. Adams paced Thayer with a game-high 18 points for the night.
While this shot was huge, it also turned out to be one of the last field goals the Lady Cats would hit in the game.
Lauren Hatten (11 points) sank three free throws and Sam Allred (11 points) added a jumper to give the Lady Comets their biggest lead of the game, 44-40, with 44 seconds left to play.
Chelsey Cabrales (five points) drove down the middle of the lane for Thayer and hit a layup while being fouled on the bucket. Cabrales completed the old-fashioned 3-point play to pull her team within one point, 44-43.
All Alton needed at that point was to hit a few free throws as Thayer tried to extended the clock with fouls.
And the Lady Comets did hit some important free throws, two from Hatten and two from Ellis, to build their lead to five, 48-43, with six ticks left.
Sara Riley sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Thayer, but it was too little, too late, as the Lady Comets held on to win 48-46.
Adams had a productive first period for Thayer by nailing two treys on her way to eight of Thayer's 12 first-period points.
The Lady Cats led 10-4 when Alton ripped off six unanswered points, hoops from Allred, Katy Rowe (three points) and Hatten.
Kristen Earls (four points) closed the book on the first with a layup that broke a 10-all tie, pushing Thayer on top 12-10 after one.
Alton pulled within one point of the Lady Cats, 18-17, midway into the second thanks to back-to-back 3-balls from Sarah Rowe (eight points).
The Lady Bobcats then went on a 9-1 burst, a run capped by a putback from April Risner (four points) and 3-pointer by Micah Stevens (five points), helping Thayer to a 27-20 lead at intermission.
Despite the seven-point hole they were in at the half, the Lady Comets hung tough and fashioned a hard charge at the end of the third that ended with a two-point victory for Alton.
Hope Hunt finished with one point for Thayer.