Lady Jackets turn it on down stretch

Glencoe’s Sarah Wallace (left) and Etowah’s Aimee Fancher fight for possession during the Lady Yellow Jackets’ 53-47 victory in girls basketball last Tuesday (Dec. 18) in Attalla. Glencoe’s Sarah Wallace (left) and Etowah’s Aimee Fancher fight for possession during the Lady Yellow Jackets’ 53-47 victory in girls basketball last Tuesday (Dec. 18) in Attalla.

 By Chris McCarthy/ Publisher/Editor

Trailing by nine points heading into the second half, the Lady Yellow Jackets did what they usually do in similar situations – play shutdown defense and make up the deficit at the foul line.

Against Etowah last Tuesday (Dec. 18), Glencoe visited the charity stripe 25 times over the final 16 minutes. The Class 3A No. 8

Lady Jackets converted 14 of those free throw attempts on the way to a 53-47 victory in girls basketball in Attalla.

The hosts, who led by as many as 15 points in the first half, went 6-for-14 (42 percent) in free throws over the same stretch.

Overall, Glencoe shot 59 percent (23-for-39) at the foul line, while Etowah shot 53 percent (14-for-26).

After Neah Meeks’ basket at the six-minute mark of the third quarter provided the Lady Blue Devils with a 34-25 advantage, Glencoe steadily chipped away. The Lady Jackets were in the bonus free throw situation a short time later, and Laura Poovey went 4-for-4 at the foul line to cut the lead to four points.

Sally Tinker’s three-point basket narrowed the gap to 36-33, and Jessica Rathje’s trey with 13 seconds left in the period drew Glencoe within 41-38.

The Lady Jackets opened the fourth quarter with a full-court press, forcing turnovers that cut short several Eto-wah possessions. Being in the double bonus, Glencoe also drove hard to the basket on offense, and Poovey’s two foul with 5:13 left gave the visitors their first lead of the game at 44-43.

Respective baskets from Poovey and Maddie Osborne made it a five-point advantage with just over four minutes to play.

Meanwhile, the Lady Blue Devils struggled on offense over the final frame. Following Amber Jones’ layup at 6:54 that gave the hosts a 43-40 lead, Etowah did not score again from the field until Brooke Perry’s basket with 1:10 remaining in the contest.

Perry’s bucket drew the Lady Devils within 48-47, but those turned out to be Etowah’s final points of the night.

Poovey’s two free throws seven seconds later pushed the Glencoe lead back to three points, and Rathje’s pair of foul shots with 45 seconds left made it a two-possession game and effectively sealed the win.

Poovey, who shot 9-for-11 at the foul line, paced the Lady Yellow Jackets with 13 points. Rathje and Jordan Sims each scored eight points. Sims and Tinker each had five rebounds.

“It was a rough game both ways, and I felt like we lost our composure a little bit in the first half,” said Glencoe head coach John Blackwell. “At halftime we talked about playing good defense without fouling and attacking the basket and getting to the line. I feel that we’re a pretty good conditioned team, and we only played about seven players the whole fourth quarter. I had only two timeouts left [in the fourth quarter], but I felt that we could get a little bit of rest from shooting free throws, and we did.”

Perry led Etowah with 18 points,  after halftime. Jones added 13 points.

The Lady Blue Devils, and Perry in particular, started out hot. The sophomore forward scored Etowah’s first 11 points to help the hosts take a 15-5 lead with just over a minute to go in the opening quarter.

But Glencoe closed out the period with six straight points to draw within 15-11.

Perry’s basket at the 2:55 mark of the second quarter put the Lady Devils ahead by nine points before five straight points by Karly Royal closed the margin to 25-20.

Baskets from Perry and Marlin Trammell in the last seven seconds of the half sent Etowah into the locker room leading 29-20.

“With the young that I’m running out there right now, we can’t afford to get into foul trouble like we did tonight,” said Etowah head coach Ryan Fore. “My three best defenders all had four fouls, and that took away our intensity level a little bit. We were never able to pick it back up in the fourth quarter. With our rotation so limited, we had situations in the second half were we had scorers out there but no defenders and then situations where we had the opposite.”

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