As a senior for the Ben Davis girls’ basketball team, Danielle Cuttino knows much is expected of her. Taking that responsibility to heart against the visiting Pike Red Devils, Cuttino came through for her team by hitting a pair of free throws with 2.7 seconds left to give the Giants a 46-45 victory Saturday afternoon.
Ben Davis entered the final minute of the contest trailing 45-42, and the Giants looked to Cuttino as its option of choice. The Giants drew back within a point on their first possession as Cuttino dribbled across the lane and to the basket for an unchallenged layup.
Following a missed free throw by Pike’s Alyssa Clay, Ben Davis coach Joe Lentz called Cuttino’s number a second time for the same play. Though challenged on the second attempt, Cuttino drew a foul from Lyndsey Edwards and calmly hit both attempts for the victory.
The end result drew a big smile from Lentz, who now stands at 299 career coaching wins.
“This was hump that we needed to get over, beating a good team,” Lentz said. “Our kids played very hard and very smart. We finally understood that when we play hard, we play better.”
Cuttino made Saturday her day. Prior to the game, she was recognized for earning All-America second team honors for volleyball.
Fittingly, she was also ready for the spotlight at the end of the game as she reclaimed the “Queen of the County” toolbox that Pike had just taken from Lawrence North earlier in the week. The last time Ben Davis took possession was two years ago, also against Pike and also on a game winning play from Cuttino.
“I knew that I needed to make the change for the game and make plays as a senior,” Cuttino said. “On the first play, they did not guard me, so I decided to do the same thing again. Then, I got the foul (on the second play). I was so nervous to make the free throws, but I stayed calm and put them in.”