It was a buzzer beating 3-pointer in the fourth quarter from Claiborne’s Abby Singleton that pushed the game into overtime when Middlesboro hosted the Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday. It was effective free-throw shooting in overtime that allowed the Lady Jackets to exit with a 74-69 victory.
“The girls kept their composure. We found a way to win,” said Middlesboro coach Ron Edwards. “We didn’t play well, but we got some big minutes from Jamayha Poe and Grace Moles. It was a team effort.”
“We wouldn’t playing well, but then we settled down and played in spurts. We just got to learn to play through the bumps and take care of the basketball. Their press bothered us and it shouldn’t have, but we found a way to win. That’s big for us.”
Middlesboro was paced by the offensive efforts of Jamayha Poe and Baylie Brunsma. The duo combined for 42 points. Poe finished with a game-high 22 points off the bench, while Brunsma finished with 20.
“(Jamayha) hit some big free throws down the stretch. She’s coming off an knee injury, and she’s starting to trust that knee,” said Edwards. “We expect big things out of her.”
Hannah Warren and Jane Millett scored 10 points apiece for the Lady Jackets.
Claiborne was led by Marilyn Smith. The sophomore hit five 3-pointers en route to a team-high 19 points. Emma Beason and Jaden Thompson aided in the effort with 10 points apiece. Singleton finished the game with nine points.
Middlesboro entered the fourth quarter with a 42-39 lead over the Lady Bulldogs. That lead grew to 47-43 midway through the quarter. Each time the Lady Jackets looked poised to secure a victory, Claiborne found a way to answer.
After a layup from Poe, Singleton hit a jumper to narrow the deficit to 49-46. Free throws from Millett increased the Lady Jacket lead to five points before a Smith 3-pointer cut the lead to 51-49 with 2:55 remaining in regulation.
Moments later, Brunsma scored on two free throws to improve Middlesboro’s lead to 53-49. Singleton continued to keep the Lady Bulldogs within reaching distance after a layup narrowed the deficit to 53-51.
The two teams continued to trade baskets down the stretch. With 15.1 seconds left, Warren hit two free throws to give the Lady Jackets a 60-57 lead.
With seconds ticking off the clock, Singleton pulled up and nailed the 3-pointer at the buzzer to push the game into overtime with the score tied at 60-60.
Middlesboro created some separation in overtime. With 1:04 remaining, Poe hit a free throw that gave the Lady Jackets a 69-64 lead.
A Kaylee Cox jumper cut the lead to 69-66 with 50.5 seconds left in overtime. Middlesboro went 5-for-6 at the charity stripe down the stretch to secure the five-point victory.
Middlesboro (3-4) will travel to Pineville at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday to play Cumberland Gap in the Chain Rock Classic.
Claiborne (0-9) will also play in the Chain Rock Classic on Tuesday.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN