Shooting six-for-15 from the free throw line is never a good thing.
Especially in the last minute and a half of a tight ballgame.
But going six-for-15 from the charity strip in the last 90 seconds doesn't have to be fatal, either.
The Couch Indians proved this to be true by surviving a shaky performance from the free throw line to push past the Koshkonong Bluejays 48-45 at the Bluejays' Nest Jan. 9.
Earlier in the evening, the Lady Indians made sure the visitors from Couch went home happy with an equally close 54-48 win over the Lady Jays.
In boys' action, Couch had its sights set on avenging a 58-45 loss to the Jays in late November. And that's just what it did, although the contest was certainly up for grabs in the waning minutes of play.
With the Bluejays trailing 42-37 and two minutes left on the clock, Koshkonong began fouling Couch to extend the game.
While the Indians couldn't take full advantage of these opportunities because of their struggles at the line, the Bluejays made one last charge at squaring the game.
Lucas England (six points) nailed a big 3-pointer in the last minute of play, and Tyler Roark (11 points) added a putback, but Koshkonong still ended up three points shy of Couch, as the Indians managed to hold on for victory.
Koshkonong opened the contest by jumping on top 6-2 early in the first period.
Then the Indians used an 8-0 burst to move in front 10-6.
Zain Hopper (nine points) started the run with a jumper, followed by a free throw from Cody Roberts (nine points), a trey by Doug Melton (12 points) and layup from Nick Ford (10 points).
The Jays had the last say in the frame with a pair of hoops to knot the game at 10-all after one.
The second period is where Couch built a margin that it would not relinquish.
The Indians held Koshkonong to just four points in the frame on two buckets, while Couch posted 10 points in the stanza, taking a 20-14 lead to the half.
The Bluejays pulled within three, 24-21, on a triple by Seth Walters with 3:27 left in the third, then Ford and Blake Martin took over for Couch.
Ford jacked a pair of long 3-balls, while Martin scored six of his eight points for the game in the third, extending the Indians' lead to 10, 34-24, after three.
The Bluejays weren't quite ready to turn off the lights and vacate the gym at this point.
England opened the fourth period by knocking down his second triple of the night to keep Koshkonong within striking distance.
But as it turned out, the Indians, despite their late free throw woes, were able to keep the Bluejays from getting too close, as Couch held on to win by three points.
On the girls' side of things, the action had more ebbs and flows than high tide in Santa Monica.
The first half belonged solely to the Lady Bluejays.
Couch regrouped to hold serve in the third period.
Late in the fourth, momentum was back on the side of Koshkonong, as the Lady Jays staged an impressive late rally.
However, this late rally just ran out of time, with Couch winning by six points.
It was all Koshkonong in the first two periods of play, as Couch managed just five field goals in the first 16 minutes of play. To make things worse, the Lady Indians logged just one point in the last 4:15 of the first half, with Koshkonong taking an 18-13 lead to the half. Taylor Manger (nine points) hit two of her three treys for the game in the second period to keep the Lady Jays on top.
The Lady Indians fought their way back in the third period, scoring 19 points in the frame after logging just 13 for the entire first half.
Couch's full-court trap finally started paying dividends in the third, as the Lady Jays were harassed into several costly turnovers.
The Lady Indians used an 10-2 run midway in the third to take their first lead of the night. Kandy York (14 points) had a huge part in this spurt by tossing in eight straight points during this run.
A jumper by Johna Wade (16 points) stopped this Lady Indian uprising, but Couch finished the frame strong with a 7-0 sprint to lead 32-24 after three. Kassi Burr canned a 3-ball to get the wheels rolling on this run, followed by hoops from Lorra Wicker (five points) and Jessica Jones (four points).
When the smoke cleared from the third, Couch had outscored Koshkonong 19-6 in the period to take an eight-point lead into the final frame.
The Lady Indians extended this lead to 51-34 in the fourth, getting three timely treys, two from Whitney Mills (17 points), one from Tara Combs (eight points).
Then it was Koshkonong's turn to shine again.
The Lady Bluejays went on a tear, outscoring Couch 14-3 in the race to the wire.
Ashley Holesapple (14 points) logged four points during this rally, while Wade and Manger drilled 3-pointers to keep hope alive for Koshkonong.
However, Couch's lead turned out to be too much for the Lady Jays too overcome, as time ran out for Koshkonong and the Lady Indians prevailed by six points.
Traci Murdock finished with three points for Couch.
Brittany Alsup and Mandy Driskill logged four points each for the Lady Bluejays, while Breezy Bailey posted one point.