HENDERSONVILLE Coming off of a close loss at Wilson Central one night earlier, the Hendersonville High girls basketball team was trying to avoid any lingering effects against visiting Portland.
Although fatigue nearly caught up to the Lady Commandos, the Lady Panthers were unable to do so as Hendersonville escaped with a 55-51 victory on Tuesday evening.
Hendersonville (14-8 overall, 7-4 in District 9-AAA) had taken third-ranked Wilson Central to overtime on Monday – with a Portland contingent in the crowd to scout the Lady Commandos – and had to turn around and play a second District 9-AAA game less than 24 hours later. The game began one hour earlier than its originally scheduled time of 6:30 p.m. due to forecasted severe weather.
“All of us were pretty tired,” Lady Commando sophomore guard Brooke Long said. “We put a lot into playing Wilson Central. We had heard (Portland) was scouting us, and we weren’t going to settle for losing.”
Portland (12-11, 7-4) – which had trailed by a 38-20 margin three minutes into the second half – trimmed the lead to one point (52-51) on a layin by senior guard Alyssa Chatmon with 22.3 seconds to play.
Lady Panther head coach Miranda Cravens immediately called timeout, but there was one problem … she didn’t have any timeouts remaining. The infraction resulted in a technical foul.
“That was the first technical in my whole career,” Cravens said. “I wanted it to at least be a little more dramatic.”
Hendersonville senior point guard Carleigh Short hit one of the ensuing two foul shots, and junior Peyton Sheehan made one of two free throws on the ensuing Lady Commando possession. Hendersonville led 54-51, giving the Lady Panthers one last chance to tie the game.
However, Chatmon’s 3-pointer missed its target, and junior Makenzie Branch made one of two free throws with 4.5 seconds left to give Hendersonville its final margin of victory.
Chatmon scored a game-high 25 points, with 19 of those coming in the second half.
“She was great in the fourth quarter,” Cravens said of Chatmon. “What’s so frustrating is that I know she can do that every quarter.”
Chatmon had 11 points in the fourth quarter, helping pick up the Lady Panthers as classmate Cristina Herrera fouled out with 2:28 left in regulation, taking an outside shooting threat out of the equation.
“We were making (Chatmon) shoot tough shots,” Hendersonville head coach Drew Johnson said. “Some of the stuff she was hitting, when those go in, you just have to shake your head and move on to the next play.”
Hendersonville led 16-8 after the opening quarter as Long – who led the Lady Commandos with 17 points – hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the initial period.
“I feel like we started out very lackadaisical, with no energy,” Cravens said. “I looked over and told my assistant (coaches), ‘it looks like we played last night.’ We just looked so lethargic.”
Things got worse for Portland as the Lady Commandos extended their lead to 33-20 by halftime and then scored the first five points of the third quarter to build their largest lead of the game.
However, the fresher Lady Panthers started to find their legs in the third quarter, while Hendersonville was managing energy levels.
“We were playing six girls the majority of the minutes and trying to spell people here and there,” Johnson said. “But when you’ve got six girls playing on back-to-back nights, and trying to play our style of basketball – get up and down the court – it’s inevitable that fatigue’s going to set in.”
Long added, “(Portland was) starting to (employ a full-court) press, so it was a lot harder because we had given so much energy in the first half and last night. We were all tired.”
Sheehan added 15 points for the Lady Commandos, who remained alone in third place in District 9-AAA with the victory.
The Lady Commandos also sweep the regular-season series, having claimed a 51-39 victory at Portland on Jan. 8.
“After a loss like last night – as hard as that was on everybody – for them to bounce back tonight and get out of here with a win, I’m happy with that for sure,” Johnson said.
Portland remained deadlocked with Beech in fourth place, with the two teams slated to meet at Beech on Friday.
“We definitely just have to learn from it and move on,” Cravens said. “If we lose, there’s a chance that we move down another seed.”
The Lady Commandos travel to Mt. Juliet on Friday for a chance to gain ground on the second-place Lady Bears with a victory.
>> Hendersonville’s took third-ranked Wilson Central to overtime on Monday evening before the visiting Lady Commandos suffered a 71-61 loss in the extra stanza.
Hendersonville led late in regulation before Wilson Central sophomore Taylor Tucker’s 3-pointer tied the contest at 58.
Wilson Central (22-0, 10-0) outscored the Lady Commandos 13-3 in the extra period.
Johnson not only sympathized with Cravens’ technical on Tuesday, it conjured up a memory of Monday’s contest.
“I lost the game for our basketball team last night,” Johnson said. “I got a technical foul with about three minutes left in the game, and we were up five. It was pretty ironic. Miranda was up in the stands for that, and we had a discussion about how I felt I cost my team the game last night.
“I made a comment that I guess the official didn’t appreciate. I don’t feel like I deserved it, but at that point, it doesn’t matter. We had opportunities to win the basketball game after that, just the same. But we would have been in a better position to win had I not gotten called for it.”
Hendersonville led 21-16 after one quarter before Wilson Central took a 35-31 lead to halftime. The game was tied at 46 after three quarters.
Long scored 27 points to lead Hendersonville offensively, followed by Short (14 points), Sheehan (11), Joslyn Jarrett (5) and Branch (4).
Wilson Central senior Kendall Spray scored 35 points to lead the Lady Wildcats.
Monday’s game was played after it was initially postponed from its original date of Jan. 22.
Reach Chris Brooks at email@example.com or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter @CB_SumnerSports.
PORTLAND (51) – Alyssa Chatmon 25, Rachel Jennings 9, Taylor Cole 6, Erica Keen 4, Mackenzie Trouten 4, Cristina Herrera 3.
HENDERSONVILLE (55) – Brooke Long 17, Peyton Sheehan 15, Carleigh Short 9, Makenzie Branch 7, Makensie Cotter 5, Joslyn Jarrett 2.
Half: 33-20, Hendersonville. Three-point goals: Portland 2 (Chatmon 1, Jennings 1), Hendersonville 3 (Cotter 1, Long 1, Sheehan 1). Records: Portland 12-11 overall, 5-6 in District 9-AAA; Hendersonville 14-8, 7-4.