Dellinger, Generals rally past Rams in OT

Strasburg's Carey Scott drives to the basket for a layup attempt as Stonewall's LuLu Funkhouser, left, and Kelsey Hines, right, block her shot during first half action Thursday night in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily
Stonewall's Emily Dodson shoots over Strasburg's Cortney McDonald during first half action Thursday night at Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily
Stonewall's LuLu Funkhouser shoots over Strasburg's Cortney McDonald during first half action Thursday night in Quicksburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

QUICKSBURG – For much of Thursday’s girls basketball game against rival Strasburg, Stonewall Jackson’s J.J. Dellinger couldn’t make a bucket. But then the shots began falling for the sophomore, and at the most opportune time.

Dellinger erupted for 11 points in the fourth quarter to rally the Generals from a double-digit deficit, then helped Stonewall hold off the Rams in overtime for a thrilling 46-45 win that improved the Generals to 2-0.

“I don’t know, I wasn’t hitting nothing at the beginning and then it was just amazing,” said Dellinger, who scored 15 of her career-high 17 points in the fourth period and overtime.

“Just trying to get past the first one, and the rest of them just kind of come.”

Strasburg (0-2), which broke a halftime tie with a lopsided third quarter, gained a 34-23 lead on Daniella Henry’s bucket with 6:45 to play. Then Dellinger started heating up, as she answered with her first 3-pointer of the night to cut the deficit to 8 points.

A basket from the low block by Sara Streett pulled Stonewall within 34-28, and Dellinger later hit back-to-back buckets – including another trey from the left wing – to cut the Rams’ lead to 35-33 with three minutes left in regulation.

“She was our best shooter last year – so far she had been laying bricks,” Generals coach Jeff Burner said. “Even for most of the night she hadn’t hit anything, and then she caught fire.”

It was no surprise that Burner turned to Dellinger with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter. With Strasburg clinging to a 36-33 lead after Carey Scott’s made free throw, the Generals ran an inbound play specifically for Dellinger from underneath their own basket. Dellinger received the pass in the right corner and nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 36-all with 14 seconds remaining, getting mobbed by her teammates as Strasburg took a timeout.

“I’m terrible at corner shots, so when I got over there and I made it … I didn’t even know how to react,” Dellinger said.

The Rams, who made just one field goal in the fourth period, failed to get off a shot over the final 14 seconds of regulation.

Senior guard Cheyanne Green jumped Stonewall out to a 4-point lead in the extra frame, hitting a runner just outside the lane before hitting another bucket in the paint in the first two minutes of overtime.

A bucket by Scott pulled Strasburg within 2, but Dellinger calmly hit four free throws during a 30-second span to give the Generals a 44-39 lead with 41 seconds to play.

The Rams came back with a free throw by senior Kelsey Jenkins and two more by junior Haley Bischoff after a Stonewall turnover in the backcourt to cut the deficit to 44-42 with 30 seconds left. Kelsey Kokkonen pushed the Generals’ lead back to 3 points with a free throw and added another with 15 seconds remaining – after Dellinger pulled down an offensive rebound following a pair of missed Stonewall free throws – to give the Generals a 46-42 lead with 15 seconds remaining.

Strasburg’s Olivia Gochenour knocked down a 3-pointer with a couple seconds remaining but time expired before the ball was put back in play.

The Rams shot 40 percent (18 for 45) from the field in the loss but struggled mightily from the free-throw line, where they hit just 8 of 27 shots.

“I think as the game got closer to the end I think the biggest difference was they made their free throws, we missed ours,” Strasburg first-year coach Darin Jenkins said. “… We just didn’t shoot the ball very well. We were able to hang in there and hang in there and hang in there. One thing about coming up here is you know with Coach Burner, they’re gonna be fundamentally sound, they’re gonna play good defense and they’re gonna make you work for everything you get, and that’s what happened tonight.”

For Stonewall, Thursday night’s win – the first for the Generals over Strasburg since 2012 – capped a night in which it had to rally from multiple deficits.

“That’s what I told them that I’m most proud of was the fact that we kept playing,” Burner said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to preach for the last couple years is that we need to play hard all the time. You can’t look at the scoreboard and that can’t determine how hard you work. How hard you play should be there all the time and then you go from there. So, yeah, that was great effort.”

The Rams led 11-4 after the first period and led by as much as 11 points in the second half. They scored just 4 points in the fourth period.

“When we got to that point what happened was we got a little stagnant,” Darin Jenkins said. “We were passing the ball around good but no one was looking to do anything with it when they got it.”

Dellinger added 10 rebounds to go along with her 17 points, while Emily Dodson had 7 points and seven rebounds and Green 6 points and five boards. Stonewall, which shot 27.6 percent from the floor, held a 44-40 edge in rebounds but turned the ball over 20 times to Strasburg’s 18.

Bischoff led the Rams with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Gochenour added 11 points and eight boards. Scott had 8 points, six rebounds and three steals before suffering an apparent ankle injury midway through the overtime period.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com

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