DRESDEN – After having an opportunity to win the game in regulation, the Gleason girls’ basketball team was not going to let a second opportunity go to waste in overtime.
Freshman Mahlese McDonald went 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the overtime period to beat District 13-A rival 51-48 at Dresden.
“Mahlese was clutch,” Gleason coach Joel Ayers said. “They are all ball players, whether they are freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors. They know how to step up to the challenge. We could have gotten beat, but the girls just fought.”
Gleason (6-4, 4-1) had the ball out of bounds with one second remaining. The Lady Bulldogs drew up a play to get the inbound pass into the post for a lay-up at the buzzer. The layup missed to force overtime.
Dresden’s Hailey Browning opened the overtime period up with a basket to give the lead back to the Lady Lions (5-4, 3-2) for the first time since there were over six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Browning scored 15 points, but Kasey Gallimore led the Lady Lions with 17 points.
Gleason kept taking the ball at the Dresden defense, and six different times the Lady Lions were called for fouls in overtime.
McDonald went to the free throw line four of the six times and hit seven free throws on the way to finishing with 11 points. Jayden Green hit both of her free throws and Lillian Nichols (10 points) added another for the overtime scoring.
“We had to play with heart and not foul,” McDonald said. “We had to give it our all.
“I knew I had to make the free throws and push us further.”
The finish of the game was not expected after the first eight minutes as the Lady Bulldogs were shut out. Dresden played tough defense and did not allow Gleason to get many looks at scoring.
Offensively, the Lady Lions took a 12-0 lead with a 3-pointer by Browning in the first 30 seconds of the second quarter, and things seemed to be going right for Dresden.
But Gleason has a way of grinding games out and wearing opposing teams down with long offensive possessions.
After trailing 12-0, the Lady Bulldogs went on a 12-2 run to close out the half and cut the Dresden lead to two points.
“After the first quarter, we did not want to let them do like they did last year,” McDonald said. We had to be ready to play.”
Gleason picked up the lead in the third quarter and extended it to nine points (30-21) as Kelsey Borneman scored 11 of her 15 points.
“We let them punch us in our mouth, and then we stood up for ourselves,” Ayers said. “We both made mistakes that we probably won’t make later in the year. Dresden is a good team.”
Gleason missed the region tournament last year after losing in the District 13-A quarterfinals. The Lady Bulldogs returned everyone off of that team, and they have one loss to West Carroll thus far this year in district play.
“This team is so much better,” Ayers said. “I tell them that we are not the same team that went into any gym last year. When we show up and do what we are supposed to, we can compete with any team.”
BoysDresden 53,Gleason 50
Dresden senior Kourtney Sawyer drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Lions (5-2, 4-1) to the District 13-A win over Gleason.
Sawyer scored a game-high 17 points, while Alex Warren added 11.
The Bulldogs were led by Lucio Salano with 12 points and Tracy Perry with 10 points.
Michael Odom, 425-9754