Lady Cougars Fall in OT to Indians
The Lady Cougars hosted the Marked Tree Lady Indians Monday night in Rector in a meeting of the conference foes which also served as a "grudge match" between to the final two teams in the 2012 Girls Division II bracket of the NEA Tournament. The Lady Indians came away with the win in another hard-fought contest, as Rector fell in overtime, 78-71.
Trailing 67-64 in the final seconds of regulation, the Lady Cougars kept the game going into bonus time on a dribble penetration by Bailey Haney, allowing the quick guard to kick the ball out to Kristen Smart for a three-point basket from up top which went in as the buzzer sounded. Rector had trailed by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter, but fought back into the game with free throws and three-pointers. Marked Tree went ahead five points, 65-61, with a pair of free throws by standout Poohnu Perry with 16 seconds left in regulation. Rector's answer was given by Kendal Gunn, who drew contact on the next possession while attempting a triple, allowing the junior scorer to sink three free throws with 10 ticks left on the clock. Marked Tree added two more at the line, setting up Smart's thrilling three to tie the game.
In the extra frame, the Lady Cougars were plagued by turnovers, committing seven in the extended play. Giving the ball back on three consecutive possession, Rector saw their guests build a five point advantage, 74-69, on two baskets by Poohnu Perry and a pair of free throws by Jay Perry with under a minute left in bonus time. Gunn and Poohnu Perry sank two free throws each for their respective teams in the final 31 seconds to set the final in place.
Marked Tree led 14-6 after the first frame and were in front, 33-23, at intermission.
The Lady Cougars fought back in the third frame, opening the period with a 10-0 to erase the deficit. Kaitlyn Essman sparked the run with a three-pointer, which also included a three by Gunn, a pull-up jumper by Anna Blackshare and two from the stripe by Smart.
Marked Tree rattled off seven unanswered to end the third with a 50-45 lead.
Gunn had a big scoring night for the Lady Cougars, leading the way with 31 points on the night. Blackshare and Haney contributed 13 and 11, respectively, for Rector. Also scoring for the girls in blue were Smart 6, Brittany Fair 4, Essman 3 and Bekah Scott 3.
Poohnu Perry and Jay Perry provided the bulk of Marked Tree's points. Poohnu finished with 36 on the night, while Jay netted 25 points. Lexi Perry added 10 points in the paint for the Lady Indians.
The Junior Lady Cougars made critical free throws to hold off Marked Tree in junior high action, 42-40.
Colby Lynch hit one of two from the stripe to give Rector a one-point advantage, 41-40, with 1:02 left in the contest. Tori Hill missed a pair at the line with 10 seconds to go, but stole back the ball and went to the line with five seconds remaining. Hill sank the first, while the second rattled out to Marked Tree. The visitors called timeout with five seconds showing, but the Rector defense slowed the trip down the court, forcing the Junior Lady Indians into a long three-point shot which failed to draw iron.
Rector trailed 4-2 after the first quarter, but led 13-10 at intermission and 25-23 heading into the fourth.
Hill put on a show for the Rector faithful, leading all scorers with 27 points in the win. Also scoring for Rector were Lynch 9, Matison Dean 4 and Sophi Adams 2.
Tullia Tull led Marked Tree with 19 points in the loss.
The Lady Cougars are set to visit Augusta beginning at 4 p.m. Friday night in a series of games which will also feature the boys' teams. The girls are scheduled to visit Riverside beginning at 6 p.m. Monday.