Free throws prove key as Lady Bulldogs rally
Stephanie Sturgis - Weakley County Press Sports Editor
In the game’s final 17 seconds, Gleason was perfect on four free throws and managed to run precious seconds off the clock en route to a 47-44 win over the Humboldt Lady Vikings Tuesday night in Trenton.
On the other end of the court in the waning minutes, Humboldt lost a lead, forced shots and missed its final three free-throw tries. All three were the front end of one-and-one chances.
“We knew if we could get to the free-throw line, we’d down them,” Gleason first-year head coach Joel Ayers said. Ayers was named the Region Coach of the Year.
The regional title is the first for Gleason since the 2006-07 season when they went on to win the Class A state championship with the current crop of seniors participating as freshmen.
With the victory, Gleason gets to host its Sectional on Saturday night with tipoff at 7. The Lady Dawgs will welcome Middleton, the Region 8-A runner-up. Doors will open at 5:30 and advance tickets will be on sale at the school on Friday. A win in the Sectional advances the Lady Dawgs to the Class A State Tournament which will begin on Wednesday in Murfreesboro.
Humboldt will visit the Scotts Hill Lady Lions for their Sectional game on Saturday night.
The victorious Gleason girls looked like they might not get a chance to celebrate a region title. The Lady Dawgs trailed by 11 at 37-26 after a Patra Hubbard 3-pointer with 47 ticks to play in the third quarter. Hubbard’s trey was the third from behind the arc in the quarter and seventh of the game for Humboldt. They didn’t connect again from 3-point range.
Gleason senior Jenna Frazier, the tourney MVP, nailed a baseline jumper to keep it at single digits, 37-28, heading into the fourth.
On Gleason’s next trip, Kim Edenfield cut the deficit back to two possessions and fired up the orange-clad fans with the first trey of the game for the Lady Dawgs.
Edenfield’s 3-ball ignited a 15-5 run that carried the Lady Dawgs into the lead. Gleason got a Sara Hensley free throw, four consecutive Frazier charity shots, a Taylor Stout layup off a Frazier assist and another Edenfield 3-pointer to cut the Humboldt lead to a point, 43-42, with 3:41 left in the game.
During the run, the GHS defense forced a pair of turnovers. Lady Vike center Jerrica Morgan accounted for four of their five points.
After Frazier missed a free throw, Stout hustled to save the rebound off a Lady Viking. The resulting Gleason possession turned into a trip to the charity stripe for Edenfield. Her first connection knotted the score at 42-all and her second gave the Lady Dawgs a 43-42 lead with 2:35 left to play.
Over the ensuing two minutes, Humboldt missed its next four shots, including a pair of forced treys, the last of which was rebounded by Edenfield. Fouled with 17 seconds left, Edenfield drilled both free throws to stretch the GHS lead to three, 44-41.
“We were glad to finally see them miss. Almost everything they shot went in before that,” Ayers said.
Out of a Humboldt timeout, Hubbard hit a short jumper to cut the deficit to a point. With time on her side, Frazier let a few seconds tick off before picking up the ball and throwing it in. The ball was deflected out of bounds back to Gleason with two seconds left. The next inbound pass came to Edenfield, who was fouled with a second showing. She calmly sank both charity shots to provide the final winning margin of 47-44.
In the first quarter, Gleason attacked the Humboldt zone from the high post and both Frazier and Stout tallied four points to key the Lady Dawgs to a 10-7 lead.
The GHS lead stretched to six, 13-7, on Stout’s old-fashion 3-point play, but Hubbard took over in the quarter, nailing a trio of 3-pointers to send Humboldt into the half ahead 22-16.
Region 7-A Tournament
March 2 at Trenton
Humboldt (44) — Patra Hubbard 18, Keisha King 10, Jerrica Morgan 6, Santia Pettigrew 5, Marquesha Emerson 3, Dominique Shivers 2.
Gleason (47) — Jenna Frazier 15, Taylor Stout 15, Kim edenfield 12, Sara Hensley 3, Ashley Coble 2.
3-pointers: Humboldt — Hubbard (4), King (2), Emerson; Gleason — Edenfield (2).
Records: Humboldt 16-12, Gleason 28-2.