Southwood’s Chelsea Tieuel wasn’t having one of her better games in the closing minutes of the Lady Cowboys’ second-round contest in the Gibsland Bank & Trust Minden Holiday Classic.
In the closing minutes of the Friday night contest at Minden High’s sparkling gym, and with her team trailing Mansfield 31-30, Tieuel committed a turnover and missed a runner in the lane she normally hits.
Then whammo! Like the senior leader she’s become, Tieuel faked a dribble drive, stepped behind the 3-point line and dropped in a bucket with two seconds remaining that lifted Southwood to a 33-31 win over the Lady Wolverines.
“I knew our players and coaches were depending on me and wanted the ball in my hands, so I had to come up with a play for my team,” Tieuel said. “I saw the defense was sagging off, so I took the shot, hoping it would go in — and it did.”
It was the second time this season the Lady Cowboys (11-3) have slipped away with a close win over Mansfield (10-5).
“It was a tough game to lose,” Mansfield coach Kendra Cunningham said. “Both teams hit some big shots and both of us played some tough defense. Unfortunately we weren’t able to win it. You can tell Chelsea’s a senior and she hit a big one for her team.”
First-year Southwood coach Terry Josting said Mansfield deserved to win the game as much as his squad.
“They did a really good job defensively tonight, although both of us struggled offensively,” he said. “We were able to get more putbacks, which helped a lot. We look to our seniors for leadership and they came through for us tonight.”
It looked as if Southwood, the defending Class 5A state champs, might fall when Mansfield’s Ashley Jacobs (16 points) lifted the Lady Wolverines on her tiny shoulders and almost willed them to a victory. The junior helped ignite a third-quarter run that erased an 18-9 Southwood halftime lead and give the Lady Wolverines their largest lead at 31-26 with a layup off a steal with about five minutes remaining.
But that would be Mansfield’s last bucket. Tieuel (14 points) scored on a 12-footer 20 seconds later and fellow senior Michelle Parker (10 points) scored on a putback with just under four minutes left to get their team within 31-30. The next three minutes featured some scrappy, but ugly basketball by both teams.
Tieuel’s game winner allowed the Lady Cowboys to move to Saturday’s 10:45 a.m. meeting with El Dorado. The winner of that contest advances to the girls’ final at 7 p.m.