Girls Basketball: Henderson Escapes in OT, Bullard Tops Van to Advance to Regional Quarterfinals
TYLER -- The game wasn't over, but you couldn't tell from the scene.
Hannah Manry's 3-point shot as time expired tied the game, sending the Canton crowd into a frenzy. Players jumped gleefully, celebrating not a victory, but extra time. Henderson, which had led most of the game up to that point, was faced with a task of regrouping.
It didn't back down.
The Lady Lions held the Eaglettes scoreless in overtime, going on to win, 61-56 on Friday at Tyler Junior College.
It would have been easy for Henderson to feel deflated after the shot. Canton could have rode the momentum to victory. But coach Kyle Griffin said his team's mental fortitude ultimately won it the game.
"I'm so proud of them for being mentally tough enough to come back from that," he said. "We were ahead pretty much the whole game. To have them hit a last-second shot like that, it's very difficult to come back from. You watch Canton go off the floor, they're jumping and excited and we've got our heads down. But we came out in that overtime, held them to zero points and finished strong."
The Lady Lions got off to a hot start, thanks to point guard Alexis Calderon. She hit three 3-pointers and got to the basket for easy layups, finishing with 15 points in the first quarter as Henderson led 24-16.
Although she eventually cooled off, she still finished with 25 points to lead all scorers.
"We needed it in that first quarter," Griffin said. "We were all nervous. We're all a little tight. When somebody can step up and put the team on their back like that, it's huge. Canton played really solid defense. They were sagging off in help and making it difficult for us to run our offense. When you've got a player like that can generate offense on her own, it's nice as a coach."
That set the tone for the rest of the game, with Canton nipping at the heels of Henderson the entire way.
With one minute remaining, Manry completed an old-fashioned three-point play to bring Canton within one. Henderson quickly countered with a basket of its own to bring the lead back to three.
Canton called timeout, but turned it over on the inbounds pass. However, two missed free throws on the ensuing possession left the Eaglettes with a chance.
Kayden Prox rebounded the miss with 10 seconds remaining. She made an outlet pass to Olivia Norrell, who was met by a Henderson defender at the top of the 3-point line. Norrell passed to Manry, who was open in the right corner and drained the tying bucket.
A 3-pointer from Jerkasia Anthony with 2:40 remaining was the only made field goal in overtime. It ended up being all Henderson needed.
Ashley Wood led Canton with 19 points. She fouled out of the game with 42 seconds left in overtime. Manry finished with 15 points. Resha Hall finished with seven points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for Henderson.
Henderson will next face Gilmer in the regional quarterfinals. The time, date and place have yet to be set. For now, Griffin will be content with his team's effort on Friday.
"That's something we've been talking about all year long, being mentally strong," he said. "We outplayed them all game long. Physically, basketball-wise, we were beating them all game long. Just to be mentally strong enough to come back from such an emotional thing - in a minute - I was really proud of them."
Bullard Tops Van, 34-29
TYLER -- Bullard couldn't seem to escape the rut.
The Lady Panthers were held scoreless in the third quarter of the area round game against Van on Friday. Thankfully, their defense was there.
The proverbial cover was lifted in the fourth, as Sydney Foster made a basket less than a minute in. Bullard found its footing, going on to win, 34-29 and advance to the regional quarterfinals.
"Van deserves a lot of credit," coach Barry Gill said. "They were very prepared for us and tough on us defensively. We kept our patience even though we struggled to score. Over time, we got a few opportunities offensively. I just thought it showed a lot of composure and discipline from out team."
Allie Kirgan led the Lady Panthers with nine points. She was matched up with Skylar Savage in the post most of the game. Savage finished the game with 14 points. Both players ended up as the primary source of offense for their respective teams, so the matchup was largely important to the outcome.
"(Savage) is going to be good," Gill said. "She's only a freshman. But Allie's senior leadership in the end, her strong defensive rebounding and scoring a bucket or two down the stretch, she's been super valuable for us for years."
Bullard moves on to face Tatum in the regional quarterfinals. The time, date and place has yet to be set.