Photo: Southside High’s Savannah Nunn (2) blocks the shot attempt of Glencoe’s Ashley Morgan as Macie Williams (54) defends during the Lady Panthers’ 55-52 victory in girls basketball last Tuesday (Dec. 4) at Southside. (Gary Wells)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
The Southside High girls basketball team built just enough of a late cushion to hold off Glencoe, 55-52, last Tuesday (Dec. 4) at Southside.
The Lady Panthers twice built double-digit leads, only to see the visitors draw with two points both times. With the Lady Yellow Jackets managing just one field goal through most of the third quarter, Southside (3-0) pulled away from a 23-22 halftime lead to a 42-31 advantage with 32 seconds remaining in the period.
But Cami Zahorscak knocked down a three-point basket as the buzzer sounded to cut the deficit to single digits, slowing down some of the hosts’ momentum. Zahorscak’s trey kick-started an 11-6 stretch that drew the Lady Jackets within 48-45 at the 2:35 mark of the fourth quarter.
This time it was the Lady Panthers whose shooting was off the mark, as Kenzi Duncan’s layup early in the quarter was Southside’s last field goal of the game. Lauren Hunt went 6-for-8 at the free throw line over the final three minutes to help the hosts maintain the advantage, but the Lady Panthers turned the ball over with 25 seconds left while attempting to run the clock out. Abby Vice quickly nailed a three-pointer to close the gap to 54-52 with 22 seconds on the clock.
Glencoe (5-2) was forced to foul, and Hunt’s free throw with 11 seconds left made it a three-point game. That shot proved to be enough, as the Lady Jackets’ last-second three-point attempt bounced off the rim.
“It’s a battle every time we play Glencoe, and we were fortunate to come out on top tonight,” said Southside head coach Kim Nails. “Glencoe’s got all the pieces to the puzzle; they’ve got outside shooters and drivers with a good inside game, so it’s never over until it’s over with them.
We had a lot of girls step it up, and they had to, because every post player we had finished with four fouls. But everybody contributed tonight, so it was a big game for us.”
Nails pointed out that the Lady Panthers would have won by a more comfortable margin with a better performance at the free throw line. Southside shot 57 percent (24-for-42) at the foul line, while Glencoe went 48 percent (13-for-27).
“I think we already missed about 14 free throws by halftime, and a lot of those were one-and-ones. Normally you don’t win when you shoot like that, so we’re fortunate. They’re called “free” for a reason, and you’ve got to capitalize when you have the opportunity.”
Hunt finished with a team-high 17 points, followed by Duncan and Macie Williams with 10 each and Alexis Thompson with seven.
Glencoe head coach Daniel Cook noted that the game was important both for seeding for the county tournament and the intra-county rivalry.
“We kind of got down in the third quarter, but we’ve got kids who are very resilient, and we just fought and scratched and clawed and got back into it. But we didn’t finish some shots inside, and
there were some points we left out on the court. We also didn’t step up at the free throw line, and that’s was something that hurt both teams. I think that both us and Southside will be shooting some foul shots at practice tomorrow. But I’m very proud of our girls for coming back and putting us in the position to tie it. But we had so much to make up at the end, and we just couldn’t finish the deal.”
Anna Beth Giles paced the Lady Yellow Jackets with 17 points, followed by Anna Grace Goodwin with 11, Lauren Cole with seven and Ashley Morgan with six.
Giles scored six points early on to help Glencoe take a 13-7 lead before Southside closed the gap to 13-12 at the end of the first quarter.
With both teams nearing the double-bonus free throw situation early in the second quarter, open shots were few and far between. The teams visited the foul line a combined total of 11 times, and Sydney Yancey’s free throw with four seconds left provided the hosts with a 23-19 lead. But Giles’ buzzer-beating three-pointer at the halftime buzzer pulled the visitors within a point.
Cole’s free throw early in the third quarter tied the game, but the Lady Panthers responded with a 13-2 run that was fueled by six points from Savannah Nunn.
But Goodwin’s trey late in the quarter ignited Glencoe’s comeback, and the contest went back and forth during the final eight minutes until the Lady Yellow Jackets finally ran out of bullets.