Photo: West End’s Katie Parker (12) and Gaston’s Emma Parker fight for a rebound during the Lady Bulldogs’ 49-46 victory in girls basketball last Tuesday (Nov. 30) at GHS. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
For the first time in several years, the Gaston High girls basketball team finished at the top end of the scoreboard against their Etowah County neighbors from Walnut Grove and Altoona.
The Lady Bulldogs outscored West End 6 to 2 in overtime to post a 49-46 victory last Tuesday (Nov. 30) at GHS.
Randi Morgan’s 3-point basket for Gaston with two seconds left in regulation tied the game at 43-43 and forced the extra four minutes. The Lady Bulldogs took its first lead of the game at 2:23 of overtime on Traci Jones’ foul shot. Lily Lewis’ free throw 90 seconds later made it a two-point advantage, and Ivy Dupree’s put-back with a minute left pushed the lead to four.
Hope Jenkins’ three-pointer with 47 seconds remaining drew the Lady Patriots with 47-46 but Dupree’s jump shot with 32 seconds remaining turned out to be the final points of the game.
“I’m so proud of the girls and their effort to compete and get better,” said Gaston head coach Chuck Williams. “We showed a lot of resilience tonight. Every one of them is a fighter, and several of our youngsters stepped up. They all played hard and got after it, so it was an all-around effort.”
Two Gaston players finished with a double-double. Jones had 22 points and 16 rebounds, while
Morgan contributed 15 points and 12 assists. Dupree chipped in nine points and 17 rebounds.
West End coach Hunter Grant noted that the shots that fell for his team in the first half stopped doing so over the final 20 minutes.
“We attacked the basket in the first half and got a lot of open shots. [Gaston] changed the defense to a 2-1-2 the second half and we had to change our offense to a 5-out, which we weren’t used to running a whole lot. But give [Gaston] credit. They executed down the stretch and hit shots when they needed to.”
The Lady Patriots ran out to an early 8-3 lead, but Jones scored all but two of Gaston’s first quarter points to help pull the Lady Dawgs within 11-9.
Julie Chapman’s basket at the 3:13 mark of the second period stretched West End’s lead to eight points but the hosts drew within 26-21 at halftime.
Both teams just scored only twice from the field during the third period, with the Lady Patriots taking a 33-30 lead in the fourth. Morgan scored Gaston’s first nine points to cut the West End advantage to 41-39.
Anna Mayo’s two foul shots provided West End with a 43-40 lead with 10 seconds left, which turned out to be enough time for Morgan to knock down her game-tying trey.
Jenkins finished with 13 points for West End, followed by Mayo with 11.