BTW’s Jasmine Walker didn’t score many points in her team’s dramatic 38-34 victory over Evangel on Tuesday night, but her three-point play with a minute remaining made a big difference.
Walker corralled an errant, long-distance miss by freshman Kadeesha Gay and put it back in with Lady Eagles hanging on for dear life. Fouled in the process, Walker hit the ensuing free throw to give the Lady Lions (4-12, 2-1) the District 1-3A victory in the first meeting between the clubs as co-league members.
“We were down one and we didn’t box out and they score,” a disappointed Evangel coach Meoka Young said. “We came out flat – we weren’t ready to play – and I don’t know why.”
The Lady Eagles (12-12, 2-2) certainly had their chances in the late going after erasing an 8-point BTW advantage with under two minutes to play. Five consecutive points by seventh-grader Tiara Young and a pair of free throws by Rachel Johnson pulled Evangel within 33-32 with 1:03 to play.
But Walker, who had just one other field goal in the game, came alive, while Gay added a pair of free throws with 15 seconds remaining to seal the game.
“I knew coming in here that both teams play sound defense and that points would be hard to come by tonight,” BTW coach Terrence Winn said. “We jumped out early but they came back. We kept our composure and were able to come out with a win.”
The Lady Eagles shot like a lid was on their basket in the opening frame, falling behind 16-4 after Gay scored six straight points to end the quarter. Neither team did much scoring in the second quarter, combining for 15 points. But the Lady Eagles did win that one 9-6, even though they gave up 8 turnovers in the frame.
“The shots wouldn’t fall for us at all tonight,” Young said. “And it’s hard to win a game when you make 11-of-26 free throws. I told the girls that in the end, it was whoever wanted it the most. They can’t expect a team to just show up and give it to them.”
The even lower-scoring third quarter belonged to the Lady Lions 7-5 with Jamesha Morgan tossing in five of her team’s points, as she finished with tied with Gay for scoring honors with 15 points.
“Coach Young switched defenses on us, going with a man-to-man in the second half and that put pressure on our guards and allowed them to get back in it,” Winn said.
Young was the only Lady Eagle in double figures and led all scorers with 18 points.
“This loss will make it very tough on us in district, since we go to Mansfield on Friday night,” Young said.