Lady Eagles nip Pike in OT

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 10, 2005

TROY - Fort Dale Academy coach Reggie Mantooth kept shaking his head in disgust each time the ball rattled in and out of the cylinder or the caromed off the rim.

His Lady Eagle team was having one of its worst shooting nights all season and the hole was getting deeper. Fort Dale trailed Pike Liberal Arts as much as 12 points in the game before the Lady Eagles clawed their way back into the game by using a suffocating full-court press to force turnovers and produce easy baskets on the other end to send the game into overtime.

Fort Dale (5-2) then outscored the Lady Patriots 9-3 in the extra period to come away with the 53-47.

&#8220It was about as bad a shooting performance as I've seen in a long time,” Mantooth said. &#8220But we kept fighting and hanging in there.”

Pike Liberal came into the game having lost only one game so far this season, which happened to be against Fort Dale in the Eagles Thanksgiving Classic. The Lady Patriots, led by Eden Harris' 29 points, jumped out to a 13-5 lead after the first eight minutes of the game and settled for a 23-14 advantage at the half.

But that lead slowly crumbled in the third period.

Fort Dale's full-court press defense forced a number of Pike mistakes that turned into easy baskets at the other end of the court. By the 6:07 mark of the third period Maryanne Hancock drew the Lady Eagles within a basket of Pike.

After another Patriot turnover, Fort Dale had three opportunities to tie or go ahead on just one possession. But Pike managed to come away unscathed only to rebuild a seven-point lead with 3:39 left in regulation.

Fort Dale returned in kind to chip away at the Patriots' lead and finally tie the game with two seconds left on a putback by Hancock off a Frances Watts' airball.

Watts scored five of her team-high 29 points in the extra period to give the Eagles the win.

&#8220We had not played a game in almost a week, so that's probably why our shots weren't falling tonight,” Watts explained. &#8220We did a good job of not giving up on ourselves.”

Fort Dale returns to the hardwood Monday when it plays host to Escambia Academy.