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Westville senior forward Terra Ramsey (22) shoots over Salt Fork junior center Betsy Sudlow during Thursday’s Vermilion Valley Conference girls basketball contest. The Tigers defeated the Storm 30-27 as Ramsey had 19 points and nine rebounds.

Nearly anything is possible in sports and no lead is safe.

The Salt Fork Storm battled back from a 12-point halftime deficit to come within one basket of staying undefeated on Thursday, but the Westville Tigers held on for a 30-27 win.

After allowing only eight points in the first 16 minutes, it appeared as though the Tigers were coasting to win No. 11, but the Storm pulled within 26-25 with a 13-0 second-half run.

“We were doing our best on offense, but with everything we put up, nothing would go in so there was really nothing we could do about it,” said Westville senior guard Meghan Goodlove. “We kept working hard on our defense, and I think that’s what helped us.”

The Tigers (11-1 overall, 4-0 in the Vermilion Valley Conference) never trailed in the game, but the Storm (7-1, 4-1) gave their fans something to cheer about when they pulled to within 24-21 on their first two possessions of the fourth quarter — a basket by sophomore Mallory Weber followed by an immediate steal by Betsy Sudlow and a Weber 3-pointer.

“Mallory is a gamer and here again, that’s what we want her to do from the start,” said Salt Fork coach Mike Chandler. “But when the game is on the line, she will step up. She rises to the top and she did tonight. Everybody that played in the second half, they elevated.”

Weber scored nine of her team-high 11 points in the final eight minutes.

“We mainly wanted to stop her,” Goodlove said. “Kelsey Russell defended her, the whole game — she didn’t go on weak side and she was the main girl that locked Mallory up. She did a good job of that in the first half.

“In the second, I think they needed to find somebody to score and she did it for them.”

Westville coach Shawn Skinner said that the Tigers’ ability to remain strong on the defensive end was a key.

“We got shots I thought we should have knocked down, but we just struggled offensively from about halfway through that second quarter on,” said Skinner. “I thought we showed a lot of character. It’s hard when you go cold offensively to continue to play at the other end. Sometimes you start to panic, and start to tighten up. I thought our defensive intensity stayed where it needed to be.

“We gutted it out and found a way to finish it, and that’s the most important thing. We are getting better defensively every night, and I really am pleased with how our kids are playing defense and rebounding the ball. We’re just going to have to continue to work on offense.”

While Skinner said the Tigers shooting went cold in the second half, he credited the Storm for taking advantage of the situation.

“We actually got three great looks to start (the second half) and we missed them all,” said Skinner. “Then all of the sudden you could see it in their kids — ‘Hey, they missed. Hey, they missed again.’ And then all of the sudden, we gave them a reason to play. Once we missed they really fed off that and they really picked it up and really made it a dogfight to the end.

“We didn’t have a ton of turnovers. We got a lot of shots. We just didn’t make them. Some of that is our poor shooting, but some of that is a credit to their defense.”

Offense was the least of Westville’s worries in the first half.

The Tigers got everyone on the floor involved and built a promising lead with points coming from four different players.

While senior Terra Ramsey did her fair share of the scoring, Skinner was glad to see a total team effort as the Tigers were credited for eight assists on nine of their first-half baskets.

“They (the Storm) made a couple of defensive adjustments and took away some of that (in the second half) but that’s when we’re at our best — when we’re playing true team basketball,” said Skinner. “One person might get some points but the most important thing is sharing the basketball.”

Goodlove accounted for five of the team’s 12 assists and grabbed five rebounds to go along with two steals and four points.

Ramsey had game-highs in points (19), rebounds (nine) and steals (four).

Betsy Sudlow and Mallory Meade each scored six for the Storm. Sudlow also shared a team-high in rebounds (seven) with Kristen Cox.

The Storm will be back at home on Monday to host the Oakwood Comets while Westville plays at Georgetown-Ridge Farm.