Winchester didn’t just win this basketball game Monday night — the Falcons survived it.
Centerville’s furious fourth quarter wasn’t quite enough to erase a 20-point deficit as Winchester held off the Bulldogs for a wild 55-50 Tri-Eastern Conference victory in girls basketball.
The last time the Falcons and Bulldogs battled on Centerville’s home court, it was a similar story — 71-69 Winchester in 2012.
“We’ve had some great battles. The last four or five years, it’s come down to a lot of championships,” said Centerville coach Jason Searcy. “We’re just trying to get better before the end of the season.”
Winchester held a 44-27 lead after three quarters, and the Falcons extended that to 20 — 48-28 — on a Delaney Miller inside basket with 6:07 remaining.
What followed was an incredible rally by the Bulldogs.
Centerville scored 18 straight points, cutting the Falcon advantage to 48-46 with 2:42 to play.
Darrian Bradshaw ended Winchester’s scoring drought, but a driving layup by Centerville’s Morgane Chenowith made it 50-48 with 55 seconds on the clock.
Winchester seniors Hayley Myers and Christina Casperson gave the Falcons the final push they needed. The duo combined for the next five points to finally put the game out of reach.
“They played with heart,” said Winchester coach Ed Geesaman. “It was a good team effort tonight.”
Casperson led three Falcons in double figures with 14 points, while Myers netted 11 and Miller 10. Bradshaw added nine points.
Miller led Winchester’s rebounding effort with 16 as the Falcons gave themselves plenty of second-chance looks at the basket.
“It’s hard to beat Centerville on their court,” Geesaman said.
Chenowith scored 13 to pace Centerville’s offense, with Makayla McFarland scoring 11 and Kaylin Smith and Shelby Short chipping in with eight points each.
Centerville’s defense led the fourth-quarter charge. The Bulldogs forced Winchester into 10 turnovers that frame, two more than the previous three quarters combined.
“They played a great last eight minutes,” Searcy said of his team. “They were hustling. They were pushing themselves.
” … They (the Falcons) were physical and aggressive. You have to give them credit. They were the team, especially the first three quarters, that came out and wanted to win the game. And our last quarter was that way.”
Centerville (3-12, 0-4) returns to action Thursday at Tri High, then plays host Saturday to Northeastern in a girls-boys doubleheader.
Winchester (3-12, 2-4) plays host Thursday to Randolph Southern in a rematch from this year’s Randolph County Tournament semifinals. The Rebels won that contest 54-36, also played at Winchester Fieldhouse.
“We know what we’re going to get from them, because they’re going to press us,” Geesaman said of the Rebels.
Sports editor Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463, email@example.com or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI