Pineville entered the fourth quarter with a eight-point deficit during Friday’s game against Claiborne. The Lady Lions rallied in the fourth quarter to narrowly defeat the Lady Bulldogs 60-58.
“We struggled a little bit offensively,” said Pineville coach Jamie Mills. “Defensively in the press, we’ve got to move our feet better. We’re doing a lot of reaching, and we’ve got to box out better.”
“I’ve watched Claiborne play a few times. I knew they were a good offensive rebounding team. They’re big girls. They just hang around the basket, and you can’t just jump at them. They’re going to win all those 50-50 balls. We’ve got to do a better job boxing out and putting a body on them.”
A layup from Jaden Thompson gave Claiborne a 58-57 lead with just over a minute left in the game. A pair of missed free throws from both teams kept the score at bay with 11.7 seconds remaining in the game.
Autumn Short scored on a layup and was fouled in the process with 7.9 seconds. The senior hit the free throw to give Pineville the two-point lead. K.C. Cox had an opportunity to win the game at the buzzer but missed the 3-pointer.
“Autumn has played two great games. She’s the most physical girl we’ve got. She played strong,” said Mills. “If I can get me one or two more that can hit and bang like she can, we could have something.”
Jill Enix led Pineville offensively with a team-high 19 points while shooting 8-of-11 from the charity stripe. Short tallied 13 points on the night.
Morgan Thompson hit three 3-pointers to garner nine points. Whitney Caldwell added 10 points off the bench.
Marilyn Smith paced Claiborne with 22 points while scoring 15 from long range. Cheyenne Tolliver scored 11 points for the Lady Bulldogs, while Emma Beason finished with six points on the scoreboard.
Pineville held a slight 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. An 18-8 outing in the second quarter gave Claiborne a 31-22 lead.
Both teams stayed on pace during the third quarter with the Lady Lions edging the Lady Bulldogs 15-14 to cut the deficit to 45-37 heading into the final period.
Pineville opened the fourth on a 7-2 run that narrowed lead to 47-44. Cox ended the run with a free throw that increased the Lady Bulldog lead to 48-44. A 3-pointer from Smith increased the lead to 51-44.
A 7-0 run by the Lady Lions was capped off by a Caldwell 3-pointer that tied the game at 51-51 with 3:49 remaining. Claiborne regained the lead with a layup from Tolliver that brought the score to 53-51.
Thompson hit a three with 2:41 left to give the Lady Lions a 54-53 lead. The lead didn’t last long as Tolliver hit a layup to return the lead to Claiborne, 55-54.
Pineville claimed a 57-56 lead after Short hit a pair of free throws. With just over a minute to go, Jaden Thompson scored on a layup to give Claiborne a 58-57 lead.
An old-fashion three-point play from Short with 7.9 seconds remaining secured a two-point victory for Pineville.
Pineville (9-2) returns to action when they host Red Bird (1-4) at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Claiborne will host Washburn on Tuesday.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN