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The Class C-1 sixth-ranked Lincoln Christian girls have had a knack for getting into close games with quality opponents this season and Thursday wasn’t any different.

Unfortunately for the Crusaders (7-5), the ball just hasn’t been falling their way in these contests, and the pattern repeated in a 50-47 loss to No. 4 Louisville at Lincoln Christian.

With 26 seconds on the clock in overtime against No. 4 Louisville (13-1), Barrett Power stepped up and hit two clutch free throws to give Christian a 47-46 lead, but it just wasn’t late enough. After a foul on the floor sent Louisville’s Avery Heard to the line, the senior hit the front end of the one-and-one to tie the game. The second shot missed and the ball went out of bounds, last touched by Christian with five seconds remaining.

Heard was fouled on the following possession and once again hit 1-of-2 free throws to give the Lions the lead for good. Christian had a chance, but a traveling call nullified its possession and Faye Jacobsen hit a shot at the final buzzer to close out Louisville's victory.

“We didn’t care how close it was as long as this was the result,” Louisville coach Wally Johnson said. “Our girls play together and if somebody is down, somebody is there to pick them back up. It was a great effort on our girls’ behalf. They earned it tonight.”

The game was close throughout as the Louisville offense found different ways to score while Christian’s Olivia Hollenbeck dominated the paint both offensively and defensively. The teams traded runs throughout the first half but it was the Lions who took a 23-18 lead into halftime after a 7-0 run to close the second quarter.

Hollenbeck took over in the third quarter with 10 of her game-high 22 points to give the Crusaders a four-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter. The Lions made up the deficit to force overtime, however, and outlasted Christian after Hollenbeck fouled out down the stretch.

“I didn’t like the way we played tonight, especially in the first half,” Christian coach Nick Orduna said. “We showed some fight in the third quarter but then we got in some foul trouble and had some silly mistakes. We’re all disappointed tonight because we know we could’ve got them.”

Meagan Mackling led Louisville with 14 points and forced several Christian turnovers that led to easy transition baskets for the Lions.

Makylee Ailes was the only other Crusader to finish in double digits. She had 12 points.

Christian will look to rebound on Friday when Columbus Scotus heads to Lincoln while Louisville will play at Omaha Skutt on Saturday.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7431 or scarlson@journalstar.com.

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