TIMPSON, Tx -- Girls basketball teams in District 22-1A D-I that are in search of a win had better hope they don't have a game scheduled in Timpson's John Herbert Eakin Gymnasium. The Lady Bears are mighty protective of their home court, as the Beckville Ladycats found out here Friday night.
After the Ladycats used two different 6-0 runs to pull out to a 18-9 first quarter lead, the Lady Bears found their defensive legs and rallied back, outscoring their guests in each of the final three periods to win the contest, 42-40.
The outcome really shakes up the district standings, as the loss drops the Ladycats to 5-2 in league play and puts them in second place, one game behind league leading Tenaha. Beckville was tied with the Lady Tigers by virtue of their win over Tenaha on Tuesday night.
More importantly, it leaves the Lady Bears tied for third with Garrison at 4-3, as the Lady Bears and Lady Bulldogs have split their season series this year. With only three games remaining in district play, it is shaping up to be a mad scramble for the playoff positions.
The Ladycats came into Timpson looking like the very same team that had upset Tenaha three nights earlier, using crisp ball movement and heady post play by Ivy Rieke to jump on top early. Rieke had twelve points on the books by halftime.
With the Beckville defense locked in on Timpson guard Jakelia Caraway, the Lady Bears needed someone else to provide a spark. Point guard Rachel Reeves stepped up and drilled a pair of second quarter three pointers to help her team claw their way back. She then got a short jumper and drained the back end of two foul shots to provide six of the points on the 7-0 run that helped trim the second quarter deficit from twelve points to only four at the halftime break. The Ladycats went to the locker room leading 25-21.
Timpson then used another 7-0 run to start the third period, but the Ladycats fought back with consecutive baskets by T'Ouja Adams and Maya Bradford to end the low scoring quarter on top again, 29-28.
The Lady Bears then used their vaunted half-court trap to force six fourth quarter turnovers to keep pace with Beckville. The trap also kept the ball out of the hands of Ivy Rieke, holding her to only six second-half points.
Maya Bradford drove the lane and laid in a basket to give the Ladycats a 40-38 lead with less than two minutes left in the contest. The Lady Bears responded by inbounding the ball quickly to Caraway, who dribbled through the Beckville defense for the tying layup with 1:18 left on the clock.
The teams traded turnovers before a Caraway steal gave the ball back to Timpson on another fast break. Caraway's pass attempt to Reeves was swatted out of bounds by Beckville's Cheyenne Haynes, giving the Lady Bears an inbounds attempt under the basket with 18 seconds remaining.
Post player Tammi Harris had been a force all evening, powering her way to the basket time after time. Caraway found Harris at the edge of the lane, and Harris put in the winning basket with nine seconds left on the clock.
As the Ladycats rushed the ball up the floor, Timpson guard Harley Martin tipped a pass out of bounds as the buzzer sounded, preserving the win and sending the home crowd into an eruption.
Timpson head coach Keith Prather had no doubts about how his team pulled off the upset.
"They just played with a lot of heart! We got down early, just like we did when they beat us at their place, but this time we just kept fighting," Prather stated. "There were probably only about nine or ten people who thought we could win this thing. Lucky for us, they are all wearing white jerseys tonight!"
He commented on the winning strategy, "We knew we had to play good defense and not let (Rieke) get the ball inside. She can really hurt you. We wanted to force them to keep it on the perimeter, where we can use our quickness. Solid defense is what won this one."
The Lady Bears pulled out the win despite having only three players scoring baskets, while shooting only 1-of-8 (13%) from the free throw line.
Caraway led the Lady Bears with sixteen points, while grabbing four steals and five rebounds. Reeves sank three three-pointers to finish with fourteen, while dishing out three assists and getting two steals. Harris added twelve points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Fellow post player LaToya Cartwright pulled down nine boards.
Rieke was the only Lady Bearcat to reach double figures, leading all scorers with 18, while pulling down eight rebounds. Adams added nine points and eight rebounds, and Bradford contributed six, while pulling down seven boards, snatching four steals, and dishing out four assists.
The Ladycats will try to rebound Tuesday night when they host the Gary Lady Bobcats. The Lady Bears will be hunting a much-needed road win when they travel to Shelbyville to take on the Lady Dragons. Tenaha will host Garrison in the other District 22-1A matchup.
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