Manual girls' basketball team rallies, wins Seventh Region semi for 'Coach P'

Manual girls' basketball team rallies, wins Seventh Region semi for 'Coach P'

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Manual girls' basketball team rallies, wins Seventh Region semi for 'Coach P'

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Her coach was in the locker room after receiving his second technical foul. Her ankle was throbbing after injuring it last week.

Destony Curry put all of that aside and — in a game filled with drama — sank the two biggest free throws of her career.

Curry stole a pass with nine seconds left and nailed two free throws with 4.3 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Manual High School girls’ basketball team a 62-60 victory over Sacred Heart on Friday night in a semifinal of the Class Act Federal Credit Union Seventh Region Tournament at Manual.

Manual coach Stacy Pendleton had been ejected with 35.4 seconds left in regulation after receiving his second technical foul, and assistant Tim Holman led the Lady Crimsons the rest of the way.

Pendleton already has announced this will be his final season as Manual’s head coach.

“The whole time I was thinking, ‘This is for Coach P,’ ” Curry said of her game-winning free throws. “So I knocked those free throws down.”

The defending state champion Lady Crimsons (22-8) — No. 5 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings — advanced to face No. 13 Assumption in Tuesday’s 8 p.m. regional final.

And they did so with a victory full of controversy.

Gretchen Samsel’s third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter gave the Valkyries a 55-48 lead with 1:55 remaining, but the Lady Crimsons fought back.

Aricka Prentice’s 3-pointer pulled Manual within 55-51, and after a Sacred Heart turnover Kayla Styles scored in the paint to make it 55-53 at the 1:19 mark.

Pendleton had received his first technical foul with 5:35 left in the fourth quarter and by rule had to remain in his seat for the remainder of the game. But when he stood up to shout instructions at his team, Pendleton was whistled for his second technical foul and ejected with 35.4 seconds left.

“I was trying to get them to foul in a desperation situation,” said Pendleton, adding that it marked the first ejection of his career.

After an Ashley Johnson free throw gave Sacred Heart a 56-53 lead, Manual’s Tabitha Mitchell made a free throw with 24 seconds left. She missed the second one, but Prentice grabbed the rebound and scored to tie it at 56 with 22 seconds left.

DaiJia Ruffin — who led No. 18 Sacred Heart (23-9) with 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals — was called for an offensive foul with 1.9 seconds left, leading to overtime. It was Ruffin’s fifth foul of the game.

Ruffin’s fourth foul was a technical that came with 4:10 left in regulation and the Valkyries leading 47-42.

“We let our emotions get the best of us,” Sacred Heart coach Donna Moir said. “It’s our fault that we’re not playing Tuesday night.”

Samsel’s 3-pointer gave Sacred Heart a 60-58 lead with 1:09 left in overtime, but Curry’s basket tied it at 60 with 51 seconds left. The Valkyries tried to hold for a final shot, but Curry intercepted a pass and was fouled with 4.3 seconds left while driving to the basket.

Curry hit both free throws for a 62-60 lead, and Sacred Heart’s final shot at the buzzer was off.

By rule, Pendleton must serve a two-game suspension because of the ejection. That means he won’t be able to coach in the regional final or in the first round of the Sweet 16 if Manual advances.

Styles led Manual with 31 points and nine rebounds. Prentice added 12 points, and Curry finished with 11.

Sacred Heart 7 12 14 23 4 60
Manual 16 8 14 18 6 62

Sacred Heart (23-9) – Johnson 7, Samsel 12, Matula 7, Ruffin 26, Stough 6, Long 2.

Manual (22-8) – Hawkins 3, Styles 31, Curry 11, Prentice 12, Mitchell 1, McCune 4.

3-point goals – Johnson, Samsel 4, Matula, Ruffin; Curry, Prentice 2.

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Manual girls' basketball team rallies, wins Seventh Region semi for 'Coach P'
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