By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
SHELBYVILLE, Mo. -- Trailing by one with six seconds to go Tuesday night, Marion County coach Mike Johnson needed a miracle.
He found one in Danielle Maxwell.
"She is a pure shooter," Johnson said of the 5-foot-7 sophomore. "She had one job to do and that was to get a look."
North Shelby was clinging to a 45-44 lead with 20 seconds to go in the final quarter when Johnson inserted Maxwell into the game. The Raiders went to the free throw line with 18 seconds remaining, but missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Marion County the ball.
The Raiders clamped down on Mustangs senior Kaelyn Spratt. So the Mustangs kicked the ball outside to Maxwell, who seized her opportunity and drained a 3-pointer to lift Marion County to a 47-45 victory.
"We were fortunate to come out with a win," Johnson said. "North Shelby played us tough tonight."
Maxwell hadn't played since the first quarter when she picked up three fouls before going to the bench.
"(She has) ice water in the veins, a real calm demeanor," Johnson said. "She is one of those kids who doesn't get rattled. We had a lot of confidence in her shot."
Marion County (2-0) jumped to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter, but North Shelby (0-1) battled back to tie the game at 26 at halftime.
"It was a dogfight from there on out," Johnson said.
Marion County went ahead 37-31 after the third quarter thanks to an 11-5 run, fueled by six points from Spratt.
A six-point effort by North Shelby's Ashley Bichsel fueled a 14-10 run by North Shelby in the fourth quarter.
Spratt led Marion County with 18 points, going 8 of 13 at the free-throw line.
Elizabeth Linberger scored 11 of her team-high 18 points in the first half for the Raiders. Brianna Cochenour added 10 points, all in the first half.
With just two starters back from last year's state tournament team, Johnson likes the composure he sees in his young squad.
"They did a nice job of not getting panicky when we got down," Johnson said. "It was a growing moment for them. They did things right down the stretch and didn't get shaken."